Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Herbs--Therapeutic use--Study and teaching (Graduate); Medical colleges--Curricula--Middle West; Medical colleges--Curricula; Middle West; Academic theses;


In the past decade dietary supplement sales have nearly doubled. This dramatic increase in supplement use stems from the passing of Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The DSHEA tied the Food and Drug Administration's hands from regulating dietary supplements. Therefore these chemical entities which act like pharmaceuticals in many ways are being created, manufactured, and sold without standardized safety testing. Wide availability, cost effectiveness, and claims by supplement manufacturers to treat serious ailments make supplements, especially herbal products, an appealing alternative to traditional medical practice. Manufacturers' claims often times confuse consumers and leave the consumer searching for a well-educated nonbiased information source, which often times ends up being their physician. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of herbal dietary supplement education in Midwestern medical schools. This study also sought to answer the following question: What coursework and training related to herbal dietary supplementation is currently being offered to future physicians at Midwestern medical schools? Surveys where sent to 26 medical schools in the Midwestern states of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The survey was addressed to the highest ranking official in charge of curriculum at the medical school. All of the respondents' answers were tabulated for frequency and portioned. Of the 13 medical schools that took part in this research, 54% (n = 7) of the schools reported offering a course specifically focusing on herbal medicine and herbal therapy. Another training ground for herbal supplementation education is in pharmacology class. Of the 11 schools that require a pharmacology course, 63.6% (n =7) of them spend time teaching about herbal supplementation during the course. In accordance with the purpose of this study, it became apparent that Midwestern medical schools have begun to integrate curriculum on herbal products. Although the integration process has begun, it does not seem to have reached all medical schools. Also, this study showed that the delivery format and content of each herbal course lacked consistency among schools.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Sue Joslyn

Second Advisor

Diane Depken

Third Advisor

Dennis Cryer


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (84 leaves)



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