Introduction to the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, recorded at the Discover 2020 virtual Open Day event.

Southern Cross University has a long history in supporting naturopathic medicine and continues that today with being the first university in Australia to offer postgraduate pathways in naturopathic medicine. So what is the national centre for naturopathic medicine? NCNM is a new centre just opened up earlier this year and its main purpose is to be a hub for innovation in three key areas in research education and leadership. A unique aspect of NCNM is that we are truly multidisciplinary we have expertise not just in naturopathic medicine education and research but also in nutrition for medicine psychology, nursing, law and biomedicine. The vision of NCNM is to empower future leaders in the field of natural medicine. Physically we are located on the Lismore campus but our team is dispersed across all campuses. So let's look more closely around the educational hub within NCNM.

So as many of you may know naturopathic medicine has has changed considerably over the last century and somewhat in the last decade or so we're just very fortunate where a degree is a pathway into the profession but that pathway has not certainly been been innovative. It tends to have been for some time being quite attached to that historical vocational model and unfortunately a lot of the vision within those programs has been about preparing naturopaths for what we see them as being today rather we're seeing as being in the future. So NCNM represents a game changer in the field because we see the field as being where we would like it to be so we're actually looking at preparing a profession preparing a workforce that can better meet the healthcare needs of consumers, of families of communities of the population. So what is our vision here at NCNM. We call these the three Es: our vision is to enrich clinical practice, enhance professional standing and empower future leaders. So how do we achieve that? We achieve that through a number of strengths one of those strengths is that we have access to an international team of experts in naturopathic medicine education and research. These experts are actually true leaders in the field they're trailblazers they're setting new benchmarks for the field with access not only to those experts but also experts in educational design, in pedagogy and educational technology we actually have the capacity to live an innovative approaches to naturopathic medicine teachings and learning that hasn't actually been seen in nat med education in australia before. Actually underpinning our programs is the need to be interactive, engaging and meaningful. This is to ensure that what event in the classroom is absolutely authentic but also translatable and applicable to clinical practice.

So where potentially can these programs take you? So mostly at the moment we are offering mostly postgraduate offerings so most of you will probably come with a nat med
background or an interest in say the organic stream. So within the nat med area, a bachelor degree is generally focused on preparing people for private practice as a natmed practitioner. We're looking at thinking forward and thinking about where else would we like to see the profession heading and what contribution can the profession make to the health care system more broadly. Start thinking about where nat med practices can potentially work for thinking beyond private practice and thinking about their role maybe in teams working in other healthcare settings maybe working beyond healthcare and thinking about their role in in public health community health in regulation and policy but also thinking about its contribution to the field in the areas of education and research. So how about the organic movement? The organic food and nutrition program. The idea there is to provide some foundational knowledge and skills today to work across the whole organic food industry right from organic food production right through to retail commerce, regulation and policy development. Let's focus a bit more on some of those key programs we have to offer at NCNM.

The first of these is the graduate certificate in advanced naturopathic medicine. This starts in January next year and the purpose of a certificate is to extend your knowledge and skills naturally medicine so not just your clinical knowledge and skills but also those professional skills such as critical thinking, clinical reasoning information literacy and research literacy. So the the purpose then of the program is to expand your career and postgraduate education opportunities to get you started thinking a bit differently as a practitioner and thinking about your role of natural medicine within the healthcare system so this program is currently offered three times next year in January, April and August and is solely offered online but the benefit of that is that it allows absolute access to everyone across Australia. It also allows absolute flexibility for people who may have other work or family commitments. So the program itself contains four units and if you study the program part-time you can complete those units over a eight month period. So what about the master of advanced nat med? The course is a bit longer, contains eight units and the idea is it actually goes beyond expanding your knowledge actually advancing your knowledge and skills not just in those professional areas so research literacy, information literacy and so on but also an opportunity to actually gain some skills and knowledge in particular specialties of practice.

So at the moment we have three specialists that practice within that program and they have been driven by what the industry is telling us is important to them. so those they are reproductive health, mental health and gastrointestinal health and as a person who might be enrolling in this program you can choose to either specialise in one of those areas or actually be more of a generalist and pick and choose the electives that best meet your needs and the needs of your patients and community. Like the grad cert this program is offered three times throughout the year, is solely online for flexibility and accessibility and if you complete all our units part-time you can complete this program in 1.3 years. The other program we have to offer is our graduate certificate in organic food and nutrition. This program has actually officially started this week, we had our first cohort of students running through that program and this is the first postgrad qualification in organics in Australia. So like I mentioned before it's really setting some new ground the idea here is to really enhance understanding organic food systems so the program itself goes right from the basics from soil health and how that impacts on plant health, animal health and human health and looks at the relationship between organic foods and nutrition and health. This program is offered four times a year contains four units and again is solely online and if you complete this all four units part-time you can complete the program in eight months. That is hopefully just a very quick snapshot of our programs I guess the idea is to give you more time to ask questions that are more pertinent to yourself but before we do that I'll hand you over to Associate Professor Lauche to talk more about our research programs.

Well thank you very much Matthew for your presentation on the educational pathways so as I said before our centre is really new it's been established in March 2020 and one thing like our vision is that we conduct research that is rigorous and of highest quality and is informed by community need and clinical practice. Our staff have diverse backgrounds and qualifications and expertise and that translates directly into diversity in research methods and research areas so we can cater for any kind of research from basic science to clinical science, health services research or public health research. One of our goals of course is to build capacity and leadership by mentoring the next researcher generation and that might be you eventually. We do have several strengths, we have a broad national and international network of experts in research but not just research also in industry, in education.

Our partnerships are very sustainable and we offer a very unique and rigorous program and one thing you may want to keep in mind is that our research ties in with other centres at the university as well. So we naturally align with other disciplines in health like nursing psychology, osteopathy, also exercise science as well as science for example plant science. So at this stage we have two degrees on the next slide you can see our first research degree that is the masters by research or masters by thesis and it's a masters in health science. The masters of health science is ready to develop your knowledge and research skills that are essential for your research or academic career and there might actually be a pathway for PhD study if you don't have any postgraduate qualification yet. You can enroll at any time the master will be offered in Lismore but also online and I guess depending on the restrictions and whether campus will be opened or not, online is actually quite a feasible solution at this time. The duration is two years if you study full-time four years if you study part-time. The admission requirement for the masters of research is a bachelor degree from any university and we also welcome international students for them um there's another requirement which is the English language proficiency they need to provide.

On the next slide we have our Doctor of Philosophy degree it's a PhD in health science and if you study that you can create a meaningful contribution to health research you can help us increase the evidence base of naturopathy through scholarly work and this may represent a major milestone for your academic career. Again you can enrol at any time, the only limitation in terms of enrolment may be if you require a scholarship because there are certain deadlines that you have to meet for the scholarship and for commencing your scholarship. Again you can study in Lismore
but you can also study online and we also welcome international candidates. The PhD takes three to four years full-time and six to eight years part-time. Again there are like different time frames like three years because your scholarship will usually be covered for three years The admission requirement is you either have a Bachelor's degree from any university with first-class honours or you have a second-class honors first division or you do provide a degree equivalent to a Masters degree that has to have a relevant research component. Again international students also have to provide English language proficiency tests. We do provide scholarships you might want to consider an Australian government scholarship, an RTP scholarship that covers a PhD for three years and a Master degree for two years.

We also have options for industry co-funded research scholarships that need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. At this stage if you are an undergraduate student and you want to gain insights into our research degrees and you don't know if research is the right thing for you, I'll just make a very quick announcement we are very soon announcing our summer research scholarships they are specifically targeted at undergraduate students to undertake short-term research projects within our centre's research areas and it really gives you the chance to develop skills and research and explore whether a higher degree in research might be the right thing for you. The first round will be open for SCU undergraduate students and depending on the restrictions we prefer an on-site um training in Lismore and the training would be between six and twelve weeks during session three. and in the long term in any study period, but for now we're looking at this summer study session. So of course in terms of infrastructure we are well equipped, we all have different expertise. SCU has state of the art laboratories so our collaboration with different centres is very essential. We have established international collaboration and reputation and professional networks that we can draw on.