General Course Information for IHM 640: Legal and Ethical Issues

Course: IHM 640 - Legal and Ethical Issues
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description: Legal and ethical issues related to the provision of complementary and alternative care are complex and evolving. Examination of biomedicine, regulation of medicine, scope of practice, and credentialing processes. Exploration of malpractice, liability, informed consent, and making referrals. Review of the disciplinary process, legal authority in medicine, and issues related to healing. Discussion of access to treatment, third-party reimbursement, and dietary supplement regulation.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the major historical events by which biomedicine gained political and economic control of health care in the United States.
  • Explain the seven (7) elements used by states to define the practice of medicine.
  • Examine the role of credentialing and licensure in the practice of biomedical and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners
  • Examine the concepts of malpractice and compare and contrast the types of liability relative to the provider and the health care institution.
  • Identify the elements of informed consent and describe how they impact biomedical and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.
  • Describe the issues related to the referral of patients complementary and alternative medicine providers.
  • Explain the process of medical practice discipline and the issues faced by those who provide complementary and alternative medicine therapies.
  • Describe how complementary and alternative medicine practices fit into the ongoing evolution of legal authority in medicine.
  • Describe the legal and ethical issues raised by energy and spiritual healers.
  • Explain the impact of key food and drug laws and clinical drug trials relative to complementary and alternative therapies.
  • Describe the factors affecting third-party reimbursement for complementary and alternative therapies.
  • Explain the key concerns surrounding the regulation of dietary supplements.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures