Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jacquie Fraser,


The purpose of this study was to explore healthcare providers' awareness and perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in providing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) care. This phenomenolgical study was built upon existing research indicating SLE patients' need to foster better communication about CAM use. Participants were recruited from the Long Island Rheumalogical Clinic in the State of New York. Individual in-depth semistructered interviews were conducted to explore the awareness and perceptions of a purposive sample of 10 healthcare providers who care for patients with SLE. Transcripts were analyzed, and categorical themes were developed. Guided by the use of the shared decision-making model and self-efficacy theory, 5 themes emerged: varied knowledge and experiences with CAM varied, participants' personal experience and perceived effectiveness led to patient guidance and advice, perceived benefits of CAM use, participants as patient advocates, and initiatives for further research. Study findings revealed that the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of health care providers regarding the use of CAM shed light on the importance of health promotion to guide future research, both within and beyond CAM. Strategies are recommended to increase awareness and understanding of CAM use through proper education and advocacy. This research may lead to positive social change in that providers may use the information in this research to break down barriers to communication between patients and professionals regarding CAM usage.