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Key appointment to global advisory committee recognises Southern Cross researcher’s traditional medicine expertise


Caitlin Zillman
26 May 2021
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Dr Peter Bai James, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Southern Cross University’s National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, has accepted a nomination to serve on an advisory committee for the West African Health Organisation’s Traditional Medicine Programme.

The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) aims to attain the highest possible standard and protection of health of the peoples in the sub-region of West Africa through the harmonisation of the policies of member states, pooling of resources, and collaboration for a collective and strategic combat against health problems.

Traditional medicine (TM) continues to be a major source of health care for the population in West Africa, however weak regulatory and legislative frameworks, inadequate collaboration between practitioners of TM and conventional medicine, as well as insufficient financing continue to impede its integration into national health systems and limits its potential to contribute to the attainment of universal health coverage.

Through its Traditional Medicine Programme, the WAHO advocates for and aim to generate wider acceptance of the integration of TM into mainstream health systems through building capacity, supporting the development of, and advocating for TM practices.

Dr James has a background in pharmacy, pharmacology with wide-spanning experience across drug research and development, drug regulation, pharmacovigilance, traditional and complementary medicine, public health, and health services research in low-to-middle income countries. He recently completed his PhD in public health specifically looking at the healthcare service utilisation including the use of traditional and complementary medicine among Ebola survivors suffering from post-infectious complications.

Professor Mary Spongberg, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at Southern Cross University, acknowledges the value of such knowledge and experience.

“It is fantastic to have Peter’s expertise at the University and this appointment is a wonderful acknowledgement of his leading knowledge in traditional medicine,” Professor Spongberg said.

“This experience will be vital as we further expand our commitment to complementary and traditional medicine research.”

Southern Cross University hosts a vibrant and innovative research program across all health disciplines and was rated ‘well above world standard’ (ERA top ranking of 5) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the most recent independent assessment of research performance of Australia’s higher education institutions.

“Southern Cross is a hub for expertise in natural medicines, with a rich history in education and research in the field. We are focused on research that addresses health issues both regionally relevant and globally significant,” said Professor Spongberg.

The National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University is an internationally recognised centre of excellence and innovation in naturopathic medicine and health education, research and practice. NCNM creates, promotes and advocates a strong culture of incorporating evidence-based science into naturopathic education and clinical practice.


Media contact: Caitlin Zillman, NCNM Marketing and Communications Manager, +61 424 632 177 or [email protected]