With the tremendous public interest in complementary & alternative medicine (CAM), we anticipate the need
for scientists and physicians trained to understand the basic principles of both Western biomedicine and CAM
modalities, and the need for CAM professionals to be better grounded in basic biomedical sciences. This
MS program is designed to meet those needs.
The curriculum, which can be completed in two semesters plus the summer, includes the following courses,
presented by faculty of the Georgetown University School of Medicine:
Fall Semester Courses
Fundamentals of Human Physiology
(PBIO 501, 5 credits; spring): 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 Department of Physiology & Biophysics.
Instructors: Drs. Aviad Haramati and Joanna Kitlinska
Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(PBIO-600, 4 credits; fall): Students will have an overview of the most commonly used CAM
modalities in the US centered around the five domains of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). 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 (bio-feedback, acupuncture); and Biologically-based
therapies (herbal medicine and dietary supplements). This course is designed for graduate students in biomedical disciplines. It will
present theory and principles of CAM practices and train students to critically evaluate evidence of their efficacy and safety.
Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Introduction to Evidence - Based Medicine
(PBIO-525, 2 Credits; fall): 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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine 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 courses in Biostatistics and Critical Readings in CAM, offered in the
Instructor: Ms. Laurie Davidson
(PBIO-520, 1 credit; fall): This course utilizes experiential learning modalities to promote
self-awareness, stress management and self-care. Enrollment requires permission of the instructor.
Instructor: Mrs. Nancy Harazduk. Graded P/F.
Mind-Body Medicine Program
Essentials of Biochemistry
(BCHB -544, 2 credits; fall): Survey of basic concepts in biochemistry, with emphasis on
metabolism. Instructor: Dr. Cynthia Rosenthal
Introduction to Pharmacology
(PHAR-584, 1 credit; fall): 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.
Instructors: Drs. Barry Wolfe and Jarda Wroblewski
Seminars in Physiology, Biophysics, and Integrative Medicine
(PBIO 703-01; 0 credits)
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.
Graded P/F. Organizers: Drs. Amri and Haramati
Spring Semester Courses
Clinical Nutrition, Botanicals and Supplements (PBIO-523, 4 credits; spring): 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.
Instructor: Dr. Harry Preuss
Intro to Biostatistics: Experimental Design and Analysis (BIST-501, 3 credits; spring): 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. Instructor: Dr. Rochelle Tractenberg
Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pathophysiological States (PBIO-607, 2 credits; spring): This team-taught 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. Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Mind-Body Medicine and Physiology (PBIO-531, 2 credits; spring): 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. Instructor: Dr. Michael Lumpkin
Assessing Evidence in CAM (PBIO-521, 2 credits; spring): This course will build on the Introduction to Evidence-Based
Medicine course (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. Instructors: Drs. Giordano and Menard
Seminars in Physiology, Biophysics and Integrative Medicine (PBIO 704; 0 credits): All students will be required to attend this seminar series on a regular basis during each semester of enrollment. Graded P/F. Organizers: Dr. Hakima Amri and Dr. Aviad Haramati
Summer Semester Course
Complementary & Alternative Medicine Field Practicum (PBIO-533, 2 credits): Students will participate in an approved, CAM-related internship or practicum, ordinarily 6 weeks in duration. Instructor: Dr. Hakima Amri
Elective Courses (to fulfill the 30 credit requirement for the MS degree) include:
Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the Legal Issues (LAWJ-065-05, 3 credits; fall). This course meets on the Law School campus on Wednesday from 5:45-7:45 PM. Instructor: Professor Sherman Cohn and staff.
Bioethics of Clinical Practice and Research in Complementary & Alternative Medicine (PBIO 539-01, 1 credit;
spring). 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. Instructor: Dr. James Giordano
Western Practice of Eastern Medicine (PBIO-540, 1 credit, spring). 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. Instructors: Drs. Leonard Wisneski and Julie Staples.
Complementary & Alternative Medicine in Oncology (PBIO-608, 1 credits, spring): 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. . Instructors: Dr. Joanna Kitlinska and Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke
Narrative Approaches to Conventional Medicine and CAM (PBIO-535, 1 credit, spring): 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. Instructor: Dr. Pamela Saunders
Complementary & Alternative Medicine Literature Research (PBIO-532, 2 credits, spring, summer): Students will perform a library research project in a specific topic related to CAM, under the mentorship of a faculty member. Contact: Drs. Hakima Amri and Aviad Haramati
Research Techniques Tutorial (PBIO-909, 3 credits; fall, spring, summer): Students anticipating further graduate education in a research-oriented field, or a career involving research, will enroll in a summer 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. Contact: Dr. Hakima Amri
Sex Differences: Physiology and Pathophysiology (PBIO-537; 2 credits; fall). The instructors and guest lecturers lead students in an examination of current knowledge regarding physiological and pathophysiological differences between the sexes. Instructors: Drs. Carolyn Ecelbarger and Offie Soldin
Endocrine Basis of Sex Differences in Physiology (PBIO-538; 2 credits; spring). This class examines current knowledge regarding the role of hormones in physiological differences between the sexes. Instructors: Drs. Carolyn Ecelbarger and Offie Soldin.