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Medical Education
Journal of Integrative Medicine: 2019   Online First
The necessity for integrating traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine into medical education curricula in Iran
1. Mohammad Hossein Ayati (Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1417653761, Iran E-mail: mh-ayati@tums.ac.ir)
2. Ata Pourabbasi (Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1411413137, Iran )
3. Nazli Namazi (Diabetes Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1411413137, Iran )
4. Arman Zargaran (Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1416753955, Iran )
5. Zahra Kheiry (Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1416753955, Iran )
6. Amir Hooman Kazemi (Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1416753955, Iran )
7. Bagher Larijani (Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1411413137, Iran E-mail: larijanib1340@gmail.com)

ABSTRACT

Background: The use of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) is increasing in both developed and developing countries. The school of Persian medicine (PM) in Iran is a comprehensive medical school that is rich in history and has its own special principles, elements, philosophy, and diagnostic and treatment options. Many complementary therapy modalities are also popular and in demand among patients and physicians. The aim of this paper is to provide logic for the policymakers in Iranian medical education to make changes in medical education curricula, particularly on integrating T&CM. 

Methods: We reviewed the global experience in teaching T&CM to medical students, and highlighting the strengths of PM, described why it is necessary to integrate T&CM into general medicine curricula in Iran.

Results: PM is a traditional system of medicine that dates back about 7000 years. Although there are few studies about the safety and effectiveness of PM, research into it has recently been accelerated. There is a suitable opportunity for integrating T&CM with conventional medicine. Physicians should be familiar with T&CM to avoid any contraindications, interactions, and unwanted effects.

Conclusion: Traditional medicine is part of Iran’s heritage and, thus, needs special attention. Familiarization of physicians with T&CM can help them choose the best treatment options for their patients. To integrate T&CM into the medical education curricula of Iran, a two-credit course has been proposed for implementation across the country.

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