Academics

Students must complete 30 credits of coursework to earn the Masters degree of Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Students who attend full-time can typically complete the program over the course of two semesters plus the summer session. Part time options are also available. 

Below is an up-to-date list of our course offerings. 

 


Fall Semester Courses
Course Number Course Title Credits
PBIO 501 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 5
PBIO 600

Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

4
PBIO 525

Introduction to Evidence - Based Medicine

2
PBIO 520

Mind-Body Skills

0
BCHB 501

Biochemistry and Cellular Sciences 

2 to 4
PHAR 584

Introduction to Pharmacology

1
PBIO 703

Seminars in Physiology, Biophysics, and Integrative Medicine

1

FUNDAMENTALS OF HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY (PBIO 501, 5 CREDITS)

Instructors: Drs. Michael Lumpkin and Jennifer Whitney and staff.
This graduate course covers the major areas of human physiology, including neurophysiology, cardiovascular physiology, endocrinology, gastrointestinal physiology, renal physiology and respiratory physiology. It is team taught by the faculty of the Division of Integrative physiology and the Medical Center. 

SURVEY OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (PBIO-600, 4 CREDITS)

Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Students will have an overview of the most commonly used CAM modalities in the US centered around the five domains of Complementary, Integrative and Alternative Medicine. These include the Alternative Medical Systems (traditional Chinese medicine, Unani medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy); Mind-Body Medicine (techniques designed to facilitate the mind's capacity to affect the physical body's functions in health and illness, such as meditation, yoga, and MBSR); Manual Therapies (osteopathy, massage, and chiropractic); Energy-Based Therapies (biofeedback, acupuncture); and Biologically-based therapies (herbal medicine and dietary supplements). It will present theory and principles of CAM practices and train students to critically evaluate evidence of their efficacy and safety. This course is designed for graduate students in biomedical disciplines.

INTRODUCTION TO EVIDENCE - BASED MEDICINE (PBIO-525, 2 CREDITS)

Instructor: Scott Dorris, MLIS and Grant Connors, MLS, AHIP

This course provides an overview of the components involved in the practice of Evidence - Based Medicine (EBM) with an emphasis on developing life-long skills in information retrieval and research literacy. Students will learn how to find the evidence, by practicing how to effectively search the literature, using appropriate resources. Additionally, students will become familiar with common study designs and associated statistical concepts, in order to evaluate the quality of the evidence. Throughout the course, the application of EBM for CAM will be emphasized. By the end of the course, students will model the steps of the EBM process, engage in opportunities to practice and demonstrate their proficiency. This course will serve as a foundation and provide context for the Biostatistics and Assessing the Evidence in CAM courses, offered in the spring semester.

BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELLULAR SCIENCES (BCHB-501, 2 - 4 CREDITS)

Instructor: Dr. Jessica Jones and Staff
BCHB 501 is a graduate level biochemistry course covering a range of topics across four units. These include: Thermodynamics, Acid base Chemistry, Protein Structure and Function (Unit 1); Membranes, DNA structure, Chromatin, Transcription, RNA Processing and Stability (Unit 2); Translation, Small RNAs, DNA Replication, Recombination and Repair (Unit 3); and Intermediary Metabolism (Unit Met. 4). Students also participate in problem solving workshops and active learning exercises to emphasize the topics covered in lecture. The class may be taken for 2, 3 or 4 credits depending on the number units attended.

MIND-BODY SKILLS (PBIO-520, 0 CREDITS)

Instructor: Mrs. Nancy Harazduk and Staff
This course utilizes experiential learning modalities to promote self-awareness, stress management and self-care. Enrollment requires permission of the instructor. Graded P/F. Mind-Body Medicine Program

INTRODUCTION TO PHARMACOLOGY (PHAR-584, 1 CREDIT)

Instructors: Dr. Barry Wolfe 
This course presents an overview of some aspects of pharmacology. It begins with basic principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Neuropharmacology, including the autonomic nervous system and the central nervous system are then covered. Cardiovascular pharmacology and its central control is discussed. Finally, there is a specialized discussion of the role of voltage and ligand-gated channels in controlling cellular function.

SEMINARS IN PHYSIOLOGY, BIOPHYSICS, AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE (PBIO 703-01; 1 CREDIT)

Organizers: Drs. Hakima Amri and Aviad Haramati
This is a weekly departmental seminar series presented by invited renowned speakers. All students will be required to attend this seminar series on a regular basis during each semester of enrollment. 

 

 


Spring Semester Courses
Course Number Course Title  Credits
PBIO 523

Clinical Nutrition, Botanicals and Supplements

4
BIST 501

Intro to Biostatistics: Experimental Design and Analysis

3
PBIO 607

Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pathophysiological States

2
PBIO 531

Mind-Body Medicine and Physiology

2
PBIO 521

Assessing Evidence in CAM

2
PBIO 604 Critical Readings in CAM 1
PBIO 704

Seminars in Physiology, Biophysics and Integrative Medicine

1

CLINICAL NUTRITION, BOTANICALS AND SUPPLEMENTS (PBIO-523, 4 CREDITS)

Instructors: Dr. Deirdre Orceyre and Dr. Hakima Amri
This lecture-based course will cover the clinical applications of nutrition including the impact of various diets on health and wellness. It will also include discussion of dietary supplements, botanicals and lifestyle modifications in health and disease.

INTRO TO BIOSTATISTICS: EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND ANALYSIS (BIST-501, 3 CREDITS)

Instructor: Dr. Anca Dragomir and Dr. Ming Tan
This course is designed for introductory biostatistical theory and application for students pursuing a master's degree in fields outside of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics. Students first learn the four pillars of exploring and displaying data appropriately, exploring relationships between two variables, issues of gathering sample data, and understanding randomness and probability. On these pillars, students then can develop the platform for statistical inference including proportions and means, multiple regression, and ANOVA.

COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN PATHOPHYSIOLOGICAL STATES (PBIO-607, 2 CREDITS )

Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
This course covers the scientific basis for the use of CAM therapies in the most prevalent pathophysiological states in Western countries. Using a systems physiology approach and the concept of heomeostasis-allostasis to bring the body into balance, students will be exposed to didactic presentations complemented by discussion sessions on the state of use, efficacy, and safety of CAM therapies, based on the available and relevant scientific literature.

MIND-BODY MEDICINE AND PHYSIOLOGY (PBIO-531, 2 CREDITS)

Instructor: Dr. Michael Lumpkin
Mind-Body Medicine and the closely related field of biofeedback are areas of CAM for which there is a significant scientific literature. This course will explore major areas of interest in Mind-Body Medicine.

ASSESSING EVIDENCE IN CAM (PBIO-521, 2 CREDITS)

Instructor: Dr. Giordano
This course will build on the Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine course offered on the Fall (PBIO 521), by focusing on the primary methods for evidence acquisition and discrimination, types of evidence and their relative utility, and the ethical, legal and practical considerations. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the application of EBM principles to complementary and integrative medicine.

CRITICAL READINGS IN CAM (PBIO-604, 1 CREDIT)

Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
This course is aimed at introducing students to basic science research design with a focus on explaining action mechanisms in CAM studies. 

SEMINARS IN PHYSIOLOGY, BIOPHYSICS AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE (PBIO 704, 1 CREDIT)

Organizers: Dr. Hakima Amri and Dr. Aviad Haramati
All students will be required to attend this seminar on a regular basis during each semester of enrollment. 

 


Summer Semester and Elective Courses (to fulfill the 30 credit requirement for the MS degree)
Course Number Course Title Credits
PBIO 533

Complementary & Alternative Medicine Field Practicum

3
PBIO 540

Western Practice of Eastern Medicine

1
PBIO 608

Complementary & Alternative Medicine in Oncology

1
PBIO 535

Reflective Writing and Self-Awareness Through Personal Essays  

1
PBIO 532

Complementary & Alternative Medicine Literature Research

2

PBIO 909

CAM Research Techniques 

3
Law 065

Alternative and Complementary Medicine, The Legal Issues 

3
PBIO 539 Bioethics of Clinical Practice and Research in Complementary & Alternative Medicine  1
     

COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE FIELD PRACTICUM (PBIO-533, 3 CREDITS; SUMMER)

Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Students will participate in an approved, CAM-related internship or practicum, ordinarily 8 weeks in duration. Please visit the CAM Practicum page for more details. 

ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, THE LEGAL ISSUES (LAWJ-065-05, 3 CREDITS; FALL)

Instructor: Professor Sherman Cohn and Staff
Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine ("non-traditional medicine") ("CAM") is the fastest-growing sector of American Health Care and is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. Presently, at least 50 percent of Americans are using some form of alternative and complementary therapy such as acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, herbs, massage, yoga, chiropractic and homeopathy. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997, visits to alternative health care practitioners exceeded total visits to all conventional primary care physicians. The number of clinics and hospitals that integrate some modalities of CAM alongside conventional medicine is growing rapidly. The Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, has held recent conferences on the values of both CAM and Integrative Medicine. The NIH is using significant resources to fund research in this area.

This development, of course, is raising legal issues. There is a growing but still unsettled body of law on this subject. Some but not all CAM modalities are now licensed and regulated by at least some states. Federal regulatory bodies, such as the FDA and FTC are trying, within the limits of their statutory authority, to protect what they perceive to be the interests of the public. Yet, they come at the problem through conventional, rather than alternative, eyes. Conventional law is based upon protecting the public from purveyors of the proverbial "snake oil" frauds. And to an extent this law is being used to keep out alternatives to the established health-care modalities. This seminar studies the tensions, legal, economic, and social, of this struggle as it unfolds. This seminar covers several areas of law including administrative law, medical malpractice, informed consent, FDA/FTC law, among others

This course meets on the Law School campus on Wednesday from 5:45-7:45 PM.

BIOETHICS OF CLINICAL PRACTICE AND RESEARCH IN COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (PBIO 539-01, 1 CREDIT; SPRING)

Instructor: Dr. James Giordano
CAM is increasingly used both in concert with mainstream approaches, and as a 'stand-alone' intervention. Although assuming a progressive position in the current hierarchy of medical practices, CAM disciplines remain somewhat fractionated in philosophy, practice ideologies, ethos and ethics. This gives rise to questions of what treatments should be used, how should they be used, and in whom should they be used? Basic ethical approaches will be presented that allow the student to understand how these perspectives could contribute to the right and good conduct of patient care and research. Evidence-based research models will be presented and evaluated in light of their relative appropriateness to CAM outcomes and mechanisms. The ethical obligations to conduct effective research will be discussed with particular emphasis upon how such research fulfills epistemologic, humanitarian and social dimensions of medicine.

WESTERN PRACTICE OF EASTERN MEDICINE (PBIO-540, 1 CREDIT, SPRING)

Instructors: Drs. Leonard Wisneski and Julie Staples
This course is an overview of Western medical research studies and ancient Eastern philosophical concepts that verify the importance of the link between mind, body, and spirit in health and healing. Studies will be presented on the science of acupuncture, yoga and meditation that address the mechanisms by which these modalities improve health and promote healing. There will also be an experiential component including the Eastern practice of yoga and meditation.

COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN ONCOLOGY (PBIO-608, 1 CREDITS, SPRING)

Instructors: Dr. Joanna Kitlinska and Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke
The course will provide necessary tumor biology background and based on this discuss how CAM modalities can be rationally combined with conventional methods into one integrative cancer treatment approach. It will also explore how nutrition, stress management and life style can contribute to cancer prevention and success of cancer therapy. The main objective of this course is to develop in students understanding of ways in which current therapeutic approaches can be changed from treating the cancer itself to treating the cancer patient as a person.

REFLECTIVE WRITING AND SELF-AWARENESS THROUGH PERSONAL ESSAYS (PBIO-535, 1 CREDIT, SPRING)

Instructor: Dr. Pamela Saunders
This course will introduce students to the field of narrative medicine. Students will learn about the many different concepts of narrative (e.g., life stories, personal narratives, illness narratives, accounts, co-constructed narratives) as created by clinicians and patients. Through readings, guest lectures, and writing exercises, students will learn how patients use narrative and writing to deal with their own illness. We will explore how doctors/practitioners understand themselves and their practice of medicine using a narrative approach. Students will gain an appreciation for how narrative shapes personal experience and how writing supports this process of self-reflection. During this course, students also learn about cross-cultural perspectives on narratives, scripted stories, life histories, and self-reflection.

COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE LITERATURE RESEARCH (PBIO-532, 2 CREDITS, FALL, SPRING, SUMMER)

Contact: Drs. Hakima Amri and Aviad Haramati
Students will perform a library research project on a specific topic related to CAM, under the mentorship of a faculty member.

CAM RESEARCH TECHNIQUES (PBIO-909, 2-3 CREDITS; FALL, SPRING, SUMMER)

Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Students anticipating further graduate education in a research-oriented field, or a career involving research, will enroll in a tutorial in which they will participate in a research project related to CAM, in a GUMC laboratory. The student will be instructed in research techniques under the supervision of a faculty member.