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Resources and Professionals in Alternative Medicine

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A. How can consumers find reliable information on Complementary and Alternative Medical Systems (CAM)?
b. How should one judge the credentials of an author of an article or book on a CAM therapy?
c. Herbs, oils and supplements are widely available. What are some guidelines consumers should consider for safe and effective use of these agents?

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According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Alternative medicine, as it once was called, highlights CAM, used in conjunction with conventional systems of medicine.

Consumers can find reliable information on Complementary and Alternative Medical Systems (CAM) through governmentally links such as http://nnlm.gov/outreach/consumer/chcam.html. Featured on the site are more authored by Michelle Malizia, Public Health Outreach Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region, Houston, TX.

MedlinePlus provides extensive information from the NIH, DHHS and other trusted sources on over 700 diseases and conditions. The complementary and alternative therapies topic section contains links to information on common complementary and alternative medicine therapies.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
One of the Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.

Alternative Medicine Foundation
The Alternative Medicine Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides consumers and professionals with responsible, evidence based information on the integration of alternative and conventional medicine. The site contains resource guides on a variety of alternative treatment modalities, health issues and a primer on medical research studies.

CAM on PubMed
PubMed provides access to citations from the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. Users can limit their results to journal articles related to complementary and ...

Solution Summary

Understanding the background and services available for consumers in traditional and alternative medicine is important for making practical personal choices.

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Provide outlines for the following:

1. The most recent data available for U.S. health care expenditures is for the year 2008. Where did our U.S. health care dollars go in 2008? What have you found about national health expenditures in 2008? How do you expect this distribution of health care spending to change over the decade ahead?

2. Health insurance is a concept developed in the United States and now appearing in many other nations of the world. Its history and development is an interesting story. Briefly trace the history of health insurance in America, from the beginnings with Blue Cross up to the Managed Care era.

3. Professional workforce shortages currently being experienced in hospitals and clinics across our nation are partly related to insufficient production of qualified personnel. That is the supply side of our medical manpower challenges. There are factors at play that significantly influence the demand for health care as well. Cite these key factors, and briefly describe how each factor influences the demand for medical professionals.

4. How do you feel about the rapid growth in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) across America? Is CAM good for American health, or is it a colossal waste of money and a danger to patients?

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