Thursday, November 05, 2009

Is the American Medical Student Association contributing to the infiltration of non-evidence based woo in academic medicine?

Multiple factors have contributed to the rising promotion and teaching of quackery in mainstream academic medical centers, something I've called quackademic medicine. Financial incentives, such as funding from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Bravewell Collaborative, are well known. Add to this the fact that more and more consumers demand quackery and are willing to pay for it out of pocket. Yes, it is to a large extent about money. Medical educators and health system administrators have sold out.

But it's not all about money. There's a deeper cultural change at work at the medical student level, driven by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). As the largest and most influential organization of medical students, AMSA is not only grooming the next generation of academic leaders but also contributing directly to the development of complementary and alternative medicine curricula in many medical schools. Despite the fact that that effort, as I noted here, got a scathing review recently in the journal Academic Medicine, and despite many previous postings by myself and others exposing the promotions of AMSA, their role in the alarming growth if academic woo remains under appreciated. It's time for some additional exposure and to that end I plan a new series of posts which will drill down on some of the specific promotions.

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