Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

The Academic Woo Aggregator

Note: The Aggregator was updated on May 18, 2008.

Last week, almost on a whim, I decided to try to figure out just how much woo has infiltrated academic medicine by trying to come up with an estimate of just how many academic medical centers offer woo of some form or another in the form of centers of “integrative medicine” or “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). I was shocked that the list numbered at least 39, with at least 12 offering reiki and five or six offering homeopathy. Dr. RW has expressed his support for this effort and at the same time given me an idea:

I knew such a list would be large, but seeing it all in one post was overwhelming. As the list grows it will need updating frequently to keep it current and near the top of our blogs, an effort to which I hope to contribute from time to time.

That’s what I should have thought of. This list needs to be updated constantly. For example, I just found another example of academic medical woo that I somehow missed last week:

MindBody Patient Care Program, New York University (also the Holistic Nursing Program)

Given that NYU is well known as the nursing school that originated, teaches, and promotes therapeutic touch, I should have found this one for the original article. This program seems to be “under the radar” in that there does not appear to be a website for the entire program, just references to it on various departmental web pages.

So here, now, is the Academic Woo Aggregator, a list of all the academic medical centers with woo programs:

  1. The Cleveland Clinic
  2. The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Columbia University
  3. Cornell University Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  4. The Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  5. Duke Integrative Medicine
  6. Henry Ford Health System (affiliated with the University of Michigan)
  7. Georgetown University Medical Center (discussed here)
  8. Harvard Medical School Osher Institute, Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  9. Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
  10. Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program
  11. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  12. MindBody Patient Care Program, New York University
  13. Integrative Medicine Program, Children’s Memorial Hospital (Northwestern University)
  14. Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group Center for Integrative Medicine (Northwestern University)
  15. Beaumont Hospitals Integrative Medicine Program, Oakland University
  16. The Ohio State University Center for Integrative Medicine
  17. Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurologic Disorders, Oregon Health and Science University (Also, the OHSU Center for Women’s Health Integrative Medicine Program)
  18. Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine
  19. Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine
  20. Complementary & Alternative Research and Education Program, University of Alberta (pediatrics, yet!)
  21. University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine
  22. Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, Irvine
  23. University of California at Los Angeles Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine
  24. Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  25. University of Colorado
  26. University of Connecticut Health Center (where a “debate” about homeopathy was recently held)
  27. Department of Integrative Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut
  28. University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine
  29. The Integrative Care Project, University of Kentucky Colleges of Medicine and Health Sciences
  30. University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness
  31. Institute for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ-ICAM)
  32. University of Michigan Medical School
  33. University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing
  34. University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Section of Integrative Medicine
  35. Program on Integrative Medicine, University of North Carolina
  36. PENNCAM, University of Pennsylvania
  37. Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  38. University of Texas Medical Branch Complementary & Alternative Medicine Project
  39. University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Program
  40. University of Washington School of Medicine Integrative health Program
  41. University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine (whose webpages seem to have been deleted but still come up when a search is done using the University web page’s search engine; what this means is unclear)
  42. Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health
  43. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Program for Holistic and Integrative Medicine
  44. Center for Integrative Medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center
  45. Integrative Medicine at Yale

And here is the Academic Super Woo Aggregator, which includes academic medical centers that offer pretty much uncritically reiki (or its variants like therapeutic touch and other “energy medicine” techniques) or, that woo of woo, homeopathy (H=offers homeopathy; R=offers reiki or related “energy medicine” modalities, with the link to the appropriate web page):

  1. Beaumont Hospitals (R)
  2. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (R)
  3. Albert Einstein College of Medicine (R)
  4. Duke University (R)
  5. Thomas Jefferson University (H)
  6. New York University (R)
  7. Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University (R)
  8. University of Connecticut Health Center (H, R)
  9. Department of Integrative Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut (R)
  10. University of Maryland (H, R)
  11. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (R)
  12. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (H, R)
  13. University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (R)
  14. University of Washington School of Medicine (H)
  15. University of Wisconsin (R)
  16. George Washington University (R)
  17. Integrative Medicine at Yale (R, H)

In any case, I’ll be updating this page on a regular basis and either linking back to it or reposting the list. If you are aware of any “integrative medicine” or CAM programs in an academic medical center that aren’t on the list above, please either name them in the comments or e-mail me about them. I’m sure it’s not just North American medical schools that have them; so I don’t want to limit the list just to our one continent.

Also, I’m quite sure that the Academic Super Woo Aggregator list should be much larger, but many of the web pages in the Academic Woo Aggregator don’t list in detail the CAM modalities that they offer, preferring vague descriptions or to say that they offer a “complete” integrative medicine consultation. That’s why I would appreciate any feedback or updates to the Super Woo Aggregator as well, even if it simply means adding a program from the Woo Aggregator to the Super Woo Aggregator. I’m hoping to make this page, along with my original post about this topic, standing web pages that can be resources for skeptical physicians, patients, medical students, nurses, and other medical personnel. So help me out! I want your academic woo!

The original post that started it all and includes excerpts of credulous prose about these modalities found on actual university websites is here, in case anyone’s forgotten. Periodically, I will post about new entries to the Woo Aggregator and link back to this updated list, including the new entries along with the date on which they were entered.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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