Professional education & development. GIFTS regularly participates in workshops for healthcare professionals to orient them to TCAM approaches in a range of speciality areas. These are often in the form of dedicated seminars and workshops in international conferences.
In addition, GIFTS has developed the educational component on TCAM for Oxford University medical students.
The University of Oxford Medical School offers an introductory course in complementary medicine for first-year students, as well as a final-year Special Study Module in ‘Evaluating complementary Therapies’. Dr. Gerard Bodeker, a faculty member in public heath at Oxford, is responsible for the content and overall administration of these courses.
The Special Study Module consists of a series of lectures given by practitioners in various fields of complementary medicine, followed by a two-week placement in a complementary clinic or hospital, and an independent study project. The project entails searching the medical literature for information on a particular therapy, or complementary approaches to treating a specific health condition. The aim is not to teach medical students to become complementary therapists, but rather to raise awareness of healthcare approaches that patients are already using, and provide enough information for them to make informed decisions about referral to the complementary sector.
Oxford medical students are encouraged to incorporate traditional and/or complementary healthcare approaches into their final year electives, which can be carried out in a country of their choice. GIFTS of Health can provide advice on choosing a project location and developing a proposal. Locations for previous electives have included:
- -Manongarivo Clinic, Madagascar (integration of traditional and biomedical health care approaches)
- -Rukararwe Rural Partnership Workshop, Uganda (clinical trial of ‘AM’, a Ugandan herbal remedy for malaria)
- - Regional Dermatology Training Centre, Moshi, Tanzania (use of honey and aloes in dermatology; collaboration with the Association of Traditional Doctors
- - Traditional bone-setters’ clinics in India.
GIFTS works closely with other departments of Oxford University to assist students in developing proposals for postgraduate research.