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Director Announced for New National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine


Karin von Behrens,
4 March 2020
Director of the new National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine Professor Jon Wardle
Director of the new National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine Professor Jon Wardle

The new National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) is set to open at Southern Cross University’s Lismore Campus on March 24.

The NCNM aims to deliver ground-breaking research opportunities and unprecedented avenues for collaboration with local, national and international research scientists and industry professionals.

The NCNM will be headed by accomplished researcher and health expert, Professor Jon Wardle.*

Professor Wardle brings with him international lecturing experience, postgraduate qualifications in public health, law and health economics; and clinical qualifications in nursing and naturopathic medicine. He has more than 200 academic publications to his name and works on the editorial board of eight peer-reviewed international academic medical research journals; including as Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Integrative Medicine.

In addition to this, Professor Wardle leads several World Federation of Public Health Association and World Health Organization initiatives on integrative medicine; and holds visiting positions at Boston University, University of Washington and University of Oxford.

“This is a really good opportunity to change the dialogue and the story around naturopathic medicine, and the role it can play in public health,” said Professor Wardle who is joined by Associate Professor Matthew Leach as the Deputy Director (Education) and Associate Professor Romy Lauche as the Deputy Director (Research).

“There’s been this notion that the two (naturopathic and conventional medicine or science/research) can’t co-exist and we’re living proof that that’s not true,” said Professor Wardle.

“The senior NCNM team have over 500 publications in medical journals. We’ve had National Health and Medical Research Council funding and more. The scientific credentials are there in a very big way and we’re applying that to Natural Medicine.”

The principle aim of NCNM is to contribute meaningful solutions to healthcare needs in communities throughout Australia and worldwide by offering opportunities for healthcare practitioners through a suite of postgraduate courses.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker said the benefits of basing the NCNM at Southern Cross were enormous.  

“Being in a region like the Northern Rivers of New South Wales means we have brilliant local networks in this field. We are also supported by a local community who, like the University, are really receptive to trying new things in order to create a healthier future.”

“Southern Cross University does not intend, and never has attempted, to emulate other universities. We aim to become the most progressive and innovative regionally-based university in Australia — and we are well on the way to achieving that aim.”

The National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine was made possible through the generous personal donation of $10 Million from the Blackmore Foundation, the private philanthropic trust of Marcus and Caroline Blackmore.

The NCNM opening on March 24 will feature a panel discussion on the future of healthcare with special guest speakers:

  • Professor Kerryn Phelps AM
  • Mr Marcus Blackmore AM
  • Professor Jon Wardle

*Professor Wardle’s official title is Foundation Director of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) and Maurice Blackmore Chair of Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University.