Maine Medical Center
Providers conferencing over a hospital bed

Didactics & Experiences


Didactics/Seminars are often co-taught by a family practice faculty member and a CAM provider from the greater Portland community. Approximately one half of the session focus on modalities, the other half on integrative approaches to common clinical scenarios. Goals for the sessions on modalities are to raise awareness of history and use referral and information resources, available evidence, and clinical applications. The sessions will also introduce local CAM practitioners and faculty/residents to each other. The faculty facilitator or a faculty leader will engage each presenter before the session to ensure that the goals of the project are met. Each presenter is asked to bring handouts including an outline of their session and a list of resources that would be useful for busy family practitioners, such as: websites, readings, recommended local practitioners, and their contact information.

Session Guidelines

10 Minute: Overview of history, philosophy, theory of the modality
5 Minute: Interactive component with clinical applications (clinical case scenario, demonstration, or an experience for residents)
10 Minute: Review of evidence – ideally presented by the faculty leader in the corresponding modality
5 Minute:  Issues of cost/payment/insurance coverage (especially Medicaid/care) /liability/licensing
10 Minute: Q&A

Faculty facilitator or leaders e-mail abstracts of relevant complementary and integrative medicine articles on a regular basis.
During ambulatory teaching sessions, faculty and preceptors encourage residents to:
  • Communicate with their patients in a nonjudgmental manner
  • Develop balanced relationships with patients where patients are encouraged to take an active part in their medical decision making
  • Balance EBM and the art of its application to individual patients
  • Report at the FMC, an integrative focus is considered
  • The wellness plan developed during orientation is implemented and reviewed quarterly with advisor

Additional Information

Fellow or Resident presents a case from their patient panel. CAM practitioners from the community representing multiple modalities attend. Each practitioner contributes his/her perspective regarding diagnosis, communication strategies, treatment options/management and potential integration with conventional care. Discussion is encouraged.

Grand Rounds presentations include integrative medicine perspectives when appropriate. Residents/Fellows are encouraged to develop strong doctor/patient relationships through home visits and extended office visits on occasion. Residents/Fellows are invited to attend the FMC quarterly pot-luck group. The group meets in the evening at the home of one of the participants. Fiction and nonfiction books with themes related to health and healing are chosen. Bi-monthly didactic series on complementary and integrative medicine topics during regularly scheduled teaching conference time.

Overview of the field as well as the specifics in our program, faculty and resources. Skills in wellness (including nutrition, physical activity, and models of behavioral change) and mindfulness for residents and their patients.

Residents develop a wellness plan for inclusion in their portfolio. This is an opportunity to explore a definition of wellness that is meaningful to each individual. This may include such themes as relationships, nutrition, exercise, recreation, relaxation, hobbies, spirituality, and/or balance between professional and personal life. The wellness plan will look different for each resident. Follow-up at quarterly meetings with advisors. This is designed to help residents maintain a sense of well being as they move through residency, often a challenging time in their life and career.

Community and Integrative Medicine month includes the following sessions:

  • Video and discussion of debate between supporter and opponent of integrative medicine
  • Each resident receives a treatment during the month (approx. 1 hour). We schedule homeopathy, manipulation (chiropractic, osteopathy), acupuncture, massage, energy healing, etc.
  • A one-hour lunch meeting at the end of the month to share experiences with each other and discuss how to incorporate these ideas into personal wellness and patient interviewing/care.
  • Stories and discussion with community physician’s panel/traditional healer’s panel
  • Scavenger hunt among community grocers, bodegas, health food stores for remedies and traditional medicines followed by discussion
  • Field-trip to community herbalist and botanical gardens
  • Fit for residency
  • Nutrition for the family physician
  • Osteopathic manual medicine skills workshop

2-week block rotation focuses on experience and observation of a wide variety of complementary and integrative medicine therapies, as well as different models of relationship-centered care. Residents reflect on their personal health and well being practices as well as their approach to patient care. The rotation can be customized for those residents with a background in complementary or integrative medicine.

The rotation takes place at the Family Medicine Centers and in the offices of CAM providers in the greater Portland community. This experiential rotation including complementary therapy treatments and observation of patient care and provider/patient interactions with community CAM providers in mind/body medicine, homeopathy, manual therapies, acupuncture, and botanical medicine is complemented by required reading and resource work. Exploring videos and websites provides a broad overview of complementary and integrative approaches to medicine. There are opportunities for discussion with complementary and integrative medicine providers.

Time is allocated for physician wellness, reading, and reflection. Residents meet with the faculty facilitator at the beginning of the rotation to discuss learning goals and opportunities during the month. Residents also update their personal wellness plans.

Residents see patients with community alternative, complementary, and integrative providers. Within our Family Medicine Centers residents experience osteopathic manual medicine and acupuncture as well as in integrative medicine consultation with the integrative medicine faculty and fellow. Residents are encouraged to develop an integrative treatment plan for one of the patients seen.