Pseudo-Science: Inquiries into the Incursion of Pseudo-science into Health Services Education
CFIC has been contacted by the College of Medical Intuition, requesting that we post a note to clarify the situation referenced below about a student who cancelled her registration (before the course started) and asked for a refund. The College of Medical Intuition states that the refund provided to the student, was actually somewhat more that the amount that was legally required according to the contract, which, strictly interpreted, states that a tuition refund can be reduced “by 10% of the total tuition due under the contract, or the maximum of $1,000.00”.
The representative of the College also stated their “intuitive” approach to medicine is based on the principle that standard medical cancer treatments can be more dangerous than the cancers they are designed to treat.
College of Medical Intuition
CFI Canada is supporting an inquiry by one of our members based in British Columbia.
While attending a wellness fair at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, Robert French, a member of CFI Canada found a small exhibitor who caught his eye: The College of Medical Intuition.
His first thought was, “That should be a good subject for an amusing blog post.” Unfortunately, he was in too much of a rush to stop and speak to the person in charge of the booth, so later, I checked out the website. As expected, it was 100% gobbledegook and woo-woo. Here are some quotes:
- It is the mission of the College of Medical Intuition to bring awareness and create wellness through the integration of the mind, body and soul;
- This can be accomplished through the art of intuition;
- We all enter this world with an internal blueprint that can be accessed through our sixth sense of intuition. [DNA sequencing by sixth sense?]
For more about this inquiry, check out Robert’s original blog: http://rethinkcritically.
CFI Canada has issued several letters to the BC government expressing our concern regarding CMI and the PCTIA process. Christine Massey, the Executive Director of BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education sent us a letter stating:
…As part of the monitoring requirements, the College of Medical Intuition will have regular visits by PCTIA staff, with the first typically occurring six months after registration. The review date is approach soon and the concerns you raise in your letter will be examined as part of that review.
As you may be aware, on April 17, 2014, Government announced it will assume direct responsibility for regulating private career training institutions, which will require dissolving PCTIA and transferring its functions and authorities into Government. However, no change will be effective until Government enacts new legislation…..
CFIC has not received clarification regarding our inquiries about the procedures the BC government will use to ensure appropriate validation of educational curricula.
CFI Canada supports this inquiry with many questions of our own:
- Who is the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA)?
- What does PCTIA Registration mean?
- What standards are involved with PCTIA Registration and Accreditation?
- Does PCTIA have all the tools they need to ensure that institutions registered and accredited have validated credentials and course material?
- Do governments, colleges, and universities have a role in protecting potential students (and eventually the people who might use their services) from pseudo-scientific
- claims in the healthcare sector?
A Customer Complaint
Following CFI Canada’s initial post relating to CMI, we received information regarding one person’s challenges with this market of pseudo-science. On June 1, 2015, CFIC received an email from an individual who was almost a student at CMI:
Unfortunately, I am one of those duped by this so-called Dr. Parkin. When I realized my mistake, I withdrew from the program but I had already sent in my cheque ~$3400+. She has refused to refund me the amount set forth on the “Refund Policy”. She has ignored my calls and emails. I am now trying to find an institution so I can file a complaint on the matter.
CFI responded to this public response and assisted the community member with contact to government representatives and the PCTIA. During the process of documenting difficulties for appropriate authorities to review, CFIC was part of a situation which dragged out for months. Over the course of weeks’-worth of formal complaints and the months of this total situation, the community member was able to receive a partial refund of tuition amounts. Unfortunately, the complaint has recently been summarily closed by the PCTIA the message that:
It appears that you made an error when calculating your refund. You calculated the 10% using the tuition fee amount for Semester 1 which was $2,995.00. The correct calculation is 10% of the total tuition due under the contract, or the maximum of $1,000.00, which is listed as $11,980.00. From the calculations above, it appears that the institution has been more generous with their refund amount than the tuition refund policy.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the above calculations, or if you have any further documents that would change them.
Clearly through PCTIA rules and regulations, validated by the BC government, there’s a steep price to be paid by any students who have second thoughts about the credibility of an educational program or institution.
It is important for community members to share their experiences with organizations like CMI and bring transparency to the operations of people who market pseudoscientific products and services.
CFI Canada is very concerned about the incursion of pseudo-science in medicine and medical education….do you have similar concerns about pseudo-science in the medicine? Get involved or make a donation to help us in this inquiry!