Med students, majority culture, and alternative medicine

What might be behind non-white medical students being proportionally less interested in studying contemporary alternative medicine? Perhaps the cultural leap of signing on to western/majority-culture medical orthodoxy inherently involves leaving minority-culture views and techniques behind. Or perhaps, too, there’s just the fact that, for many minority-background med students, alternative medicine lacks the exotic allure it might hold, at least these days, for their white counterparts.

Non-white medical students are more likely to embrace orthodox medicine and reject therapies traditionally associated with their cultures. That is one finding from an international study that measures the attitudes of medical students toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While seemingly counter-intuitive, white students view CAM more favorably than their non-white counterparts, the study authors say….

[I]n the first study, U.S. medical students wanted more courses about CAM than students in Hong Kong, for example. (The Hong Kong school was not included in the 2nd survey of fourth year students.) The second study continued to support that trend with the least interest in CAM measured in Asian and black students.

Originally published at

Add Your Comments