Homeopathy in Medical Schools: Trajectory of the Universidade Federal Fluminense

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT Homeopathic medicine was recognized by the Federal Council of Medicine as a medical specialty in 1980, and since then its teaching as part of medical training has grown in Brazil. Homeopathic medicine was first taight in Brazil in 1994 in the undergraduate medicine program of the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). The history of teaching Homeopathy in the UFF medical course was analyzed in a qualitative-approach case study using documental analysis, direct observation, individual interviews with coordinators and students, and focus groups with alumni from five disciplines that address Homeopathy. The path identified involved resistance and progress, triggered by the curricular reform process in context of the implementation of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) and the expansion of primary care. The teaching of Homeopathy in the UFF medical course was supported by the collaboration of external professionals. The major challenges included consolidating the discipline on the compulsory curriculum, acheiving integration with other clinics, hiring qualified teachers and recreating an outpatient Homeopathy school environment for supervised practice. From the perspective of integration and complementarity of the biomedical approach, humanized medical practice and comprehensive care were the most mentioned contributions. In the compulsory subjects it is argued that students can develop skills and abilities to: (a) guide and refer patients to Homeopathy whenever they might benefit from this medical practice; and (b) hold dialogues with homeopathy colleagues concerning the monitoring of common patients. The optional subjects are important for students who want to broaden their theoretical and practical training in Homeopathy, aimed at offering a professional practice that includes this specialty and permits the integration of the vitalist and biomedical paradigms in health care. The teaching of Homeopathy in the UFF undergraduate medical program is supported by its academic community’s commitment to a plural health education that enables future professionals to use different paradigms for dealing with the disease process, the body and people in a contemporary society. This, in turn, contributes to improving relationships with patients, promotes autonomy, reduces invasive and insensitive approaches and expands comprehensive health care and resolute health work. This critical study of the trajectory of Homeopathy education in the UFF undergraduate medical course adds support to reflections on its teaching in other medical schools, including schools that already contemplate Homeopathy in their schedule or schools that are planning to include it in their curriculum in response to student and teacher demand.</p><p></p>