Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner




cam, medicine, alternative, traditional, integrate


The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been increasing in the United States. Many patients are using CAM techniques in combination with conventional medicine and without the knowledge of their physicians. These patients may feel hesitant to report CAM usage to their traditional doctors. This can be dangerous for the health of the patient. Therefore, it would be beneficial to patient safety and to the health care system of the United States to integrate alternative medicine with traditional Western medicine. However, there is still a lack of information about how to specifically integrate CAM with traditional medicine. The purpose of this study is to examine the usage, education, and attitudes of traditionally trained medical doctors towards complementary and alternative practices in order to find ways to successfully integrate alternative medicine with traditional Western medicine. To do this, thirteen practicing physicians were interviewed about their knowledge, attitudes, education and usage of CAM. From the results, it was found that the majority of physicians had very little knowledge of CAM and integrative medicine. Those who were educated were younger and exposed to CAM in medical school. Physicians had a negative outlook on CAM, but felt that CAM plays a role in society. Correlations were observed between doctor’s specialty and CAM usage. It was concluded that in order to successfully integrate alternative medicine with traditional Western medicine, an integrative model must include more education, incentives, research, and regulations.