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Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Medicine and Ecology Series

Assessing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours related to integrative medicine among student and professional communities

Desislava Vankova


Introduction: Integrative medicine is a new trend in modern healthcare. It arose as an idea for the cost-effective integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in healthcare systems. Therefore, the research focus on integrative medicine inevitably includes CAM.

Aim: The aim of this publication is to present a study of the students’ and primary care professionals’ educational needs by examining knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among these communities regarding CAM and the concept of integrative medicine.

Materials and Methods: Four instruments (questionnaires) were developed for the four target groups: general practitioners, medical students (with the possibility of dental medicine), pharmacists and assistant pharmacists, pharmacy students. Descriptive statistical methods have been applied; the obtained results were evaluated as statistically significant when p-value < 0.05.

Results and Discussion: In the period 7.04.–20.10.2021, the questionnaires were distributed online through official pages of the targeted communities. For data analysis, the four groups of respondents were combined into two main groups: a professional group and a student group.

The four versions of the questionnaires had a general structure of five parts, which also defined the framework of the brief presentation of the results: 1) social, demographic, and professional characteristics of the respondents: the sample consisted of 393 respondents, divided into the two main groups – practicing professionals – 185, and 208 students; the group structure allowed for comparisons; 2) awareness of the CAM definition, separate methods and systems; the sources of information related to CAM; 3) attitudes and behaviours related to CAM; 4) interests and need for training in the field of CAM; and 5) integrative medicine – awareness. The general conclusions are that there is a need for more information. More than 50% of the respondents use CAM for prevention or treatment, and the need for education is undeniable. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups regarding sources of information.

Conclusion: The public debate about the scientific validity and place of CAM in modern healthcare and education will continue due to differences in philosophical approaches to health and disease. We accept all perspectives, and in conclusion we provide a synthesis of the key messages derived from the narratives shared by the respondents: the need for scientific evidence and education, unification, understanding, prevention, and judicious therapy.


integrative medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), KAP study, educational needs, social medicine

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