Changing the conversation on health – an introduction to the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine.

Professor Jon Wardle
Foundation Director and Maurice Blackmore Chair of Naturopathic Medicine, Professor of Public Health

What matters to us is that we change the conversation on health. Rather than having people ask why naturopaths should be involved in the health sector we have people asking why it's taken so long. One of the wonderful things about being a practicing naturopath is seeing the tremendous power that naturopathy can have in patients’ lives.

At the Centre we're teaching Australia's naturopaths to be the future leaders of Australia's healthcare professions. We're teaching conventional practitioners about the benefits of integrating traditional and complementary approaches to really provide the best of both worlds. We want to open up opportunities for allied health practitioners and community health organisations who probably haven't thought about naturopathy as an option to expand their clinical skills and offer better care for their patients. We're really committed to helping the patient be an active part of their treatment journey.

At the National Centre we have leading researchers, key opinion leaders, key global leaders in evidence-based medicine, as well as key leaders in traditional practices. Education, advocacy, and research are all interlinked - we don't see these as separate. Research needs to inform training and practice, practice needs to inform research. Students at the Centre are actively involved in research they're actively involved in patient care, they're getting experience not just in theoretical training but in practical real-world skills as well.

When most people think of naturopathy they think of naturopaths in a one-on-one clinical setting, we're going to go beyond that and we're actually going to take naturopaths into the community. We're working with hospitals local health districts community organizations to actually help naturopaths do the most they can for their community. The centre offers a whole suite of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, these include basic clinical training, specialty clinical training but we also have a number of courses on expanding the health impacts of areas such as food production, lifestyle medicine and a whole range of other disciplines

One of the unique parts of the centre is we're not just an education institute delivering training courses, We're actively involved in practice, we're actively involved in research, we're actively involved in advocacy. All these elements combined to give students the optimal experience of real-world settings for naturopathic practice.
We want to teach students not to be scared of complexity but to embrace it. We want to teach students to be detectives in the health setting.

We want to teach students to understand the underlying causes, understand the patients, learn about the patients and actually understand how different systems work together. This is how naturopathy works in practice and this is how we can help make people better.

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