Starting in fall, the University’s School of Public Health will offer a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine.
The concentration is a result of the increased popularity of alternative medicine and complementary therapies in the United States today, said Pam Schreiner, an epidemiology professor, who proposed the concentration.
“Americans are one of the biggest self-medicating populations in the world,” she said. “Alternative and complementary medicine has just blossomed in the past decade.”
Students who choose the concentration can take classes in acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, epidemiology and maternal health, among others, Schreiner said.
“It’s very much focused on your interests,” she said. “There’s a broad array of talent over there at the Center for Spirituality and Healing.”
Karen Lawson, the center’s director of integrated clinical services, said those in the public-health field can benefit from other health-care philosophies.
“We really see integrated medicine as a future direction for health care in general,” she said.
Public-health professionals work with large populations and look at health care and threats to health care from a community standpoint.
People who study public health will become makers of public policy, in addition to researchers and teachers, Lawson said. Therefore, they will see broader options when making decisions, she said.
Schreiner said the United States as a whole is also open to different health-care perspectives. People are becoming increasingly invested in their own health and are open to trying different remedies, she said.
Doug Korus, a University employee who also takes classes through the center as part of the Inter-College Program, said incorporating various medicinal techniques into education is a good idea.
“The medical field is broken and one-dimensional, and the mind is a powerful tool for healing,” he said.
Amy Giannobile, a University graduate student, said she thinks it is good that schools are including medicinal practices that have been around for thousands of years in their curriculums.