From the President.
Subject: Medicine, Botanic (Reports)
Medicine, Herbal (Reports)
Presidents (Organizations) (Services)
Presidents (Organizations) (Reports)
Author: Baxter, John
Pub Date: 03/22/2007
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2007 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Spring, 2007 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 174818452
Full Text: Hello Members

Here we are a third of the way through another year and it feels like it was only yesterday that I was writing the December report. Where does the time go?

NHAA logo

I'm very happy to have my report pushed back a page by announcing the release of the new logo. This has taken a long time to come about. For many years now members have commented on how 'tired' and old the logo looks. Successive boards have been aware of this and have been looking at options for sometime. I will give a synopsis of the history of the logo for those unaware of it.

The original logo of the Association had references to the National Institute of Herbal Medicine (NIMH) (UK) and American Herbal Guild (AHG) (USA). In the late eighties a design competition was organised among the members to come up with a uniquely Australian logo. Although there were many entries none were considered as viable for the Association. At that time the original logo was modified to remove references to NIMH and AHG and has been used as an interim measure in the intervening years.

The current board decided early last year it was time to update the logo and appointed a logo subcommittee, with a small budget, to investigate options. The subcommittee opted to brief a few selected graphic designers to obtain preliminary designs for consideration. There were many options proffered but only a few fulfilled the criteria of the subcommittee. These designs were taken to the full board for feedback and the most popular was taken back to the designer for amendments to give us the logo presented to you on the preceding page.

The mortar and pestle in the new logo represents the history of herbs, the eucalyptus leaf the uniquely Australian approach with the colours of green and purple representing our natural approach to health and passion for our profession.

I believe this logo will carry us into the future and be more representative of the passionate people involved with herbal medicine.

La Trobe report

The La Trobe University report into regulation of the profession (released last December) has been referred to the Health Work force Principal Committee to be considered as a part of the scheme to have a national register of health professionals. It is unlikely that any action will be taken on this report before the register of the nine professions currently regulated in all states and territories is established. The timing for the current phase of considerations is suggested to be sometime in 2008. Because of this long lead time it is our responsibility (all of us not just the board) to ensure that we are not forgotten or left out of this process. The board will be developing a strategy on this and will communicate it to you once it has been finalised.

The article by Patrizia Bronzi later in the journal is a salutary warning on the fate of herbalists if some form of official recognition and registration is not forthcoming. I strongly recommend a read by all and look forward to your participation in our strategy.

Future Directions Forum

I attended a forum in Sydney jointly hosted by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), NSW Office of Science & Medical Research and Centre for Complementary Medicine Research (Complemed) (University of Western Sydney) called Complementary Medicine: Future Directions Forum. The object of the forum was to discuss a way forward in researching and utilising proven complementary medicines. There were many excellent speakers and many options discussed through both plenary sessions and facilitated discussion groups. Three things stood out for me from the two days of discussions.

Firstly the government is finally taking complementary medicine serious and is investing money to research the claims for our medicines and our approach. I have an expectation that this research will only verify the traditional approach and use of our medicines. The day after this forum the government announced a $5 million fund for research into complementary medicine.

A video link from the US National Centre for Complementary & Alternate Medicine provided the next two points. Complementary medicine research needs to be approach from a different paradigm to get meaningful results; research scientists need to partner with complementary medicine practitioners to ensure the best possible outcomes.

This development is a two edged sword for us as practitioners. On the positive side there will be more evidence to support the use of complementary medicines and give us a more scientific basis for practice. However it will also mean that the best of our therapies will be absorbed into the current disease paradigm of medicine and most likely be prescribed based on a very narrow set of criteria. Without careful husbanding of our medicines there is a danger the traditional knowledge and applications for our medicines will be lost. To borrow from the Prime Minister, we need not get alarmed but will need to stay alert to avoid this trap.

The dilemma for the research scientist is how to identify suitable practitioner partners. Because there is no single standard in education or a practitioner registration system it will be a challenge for the scientists. As a remedy to this situation there is a good argument to move quickly on practitioner regulation.

Funding for research into complementary medicines will be allocated by the NHMRC on a competitive basis. A proposal for funding must meet the criteria of the NHMRC and the person or group making the proposal will probably need to have a track record in research before funding is allocated. For most herbalists, unless they are partnered with a successful research scientist there is little hope of receiving any funding under these criteria. Applications for the "Special call for research applications into CAM" close on 30 March 2007. If you are interested in the process more information for applicants and application documents are available on the NHMRC website at http://www.nmhrc.gov.au

International Conference

The NHAA 6th International Conference on Phytotherapeutics in Canberra (September 21-23) will this year be the culmination of National Herbal Medicine Week (NHMW). The conference organising committee is hard at work to make this the best conference ever. A diverse range of topics and high quality speakers from Australia and overseas is organised and the final program will make this a conference not to be missed. You will be receiving information packs on the conference in the very near future.

See centre of this Journal for Conference details

Get your registrations in early to take advantage of the attractive early bird rates. Canberra is particularly beautiful at this time of year, so if you can afford the time come early or stay longer to enjoy Floriade and the other attractions of our nation' s capital.

NHMW

For those not attending the conference you may like to get involved with NHMW in your local area. Events take some planning to make them truly successful and now is the time to get started. If you are a practitioner or a student and interested in being involved in an opportunity to showcase the profession and herbal medicine generally please let the office know so the NHMW co-ordinator can contact you and discuss options for events in your area. This is also a challenge to the local NHAA chapters to come up with some ideas and act on them.

As there is no seminar series I will miss the opportunity to speak to people throughout the year. If you have concerns that you feel need mine or the board members' attention please don't hesitate to contact the office and make us aware of those concerns. An email will ensure the message gets to us quick smart.

Look forward to seeing you all at the conference. Regards

John Baxter

President

PO Box 45, Concord West NSW 2138

what@pacific.net.au

See centre of this Journal for exciting details on our 6th International Conference of Phytotherapeutics
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