The Naturopathic Medical Research Agenda: The Future and Foundation of Naturopathic Medical Science

Bastyr University, San Diego, California, United States
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.59). 05/2006; 12(3):341-5. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.341
Source: PubMed
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    • "Increased research and a larger evidence base is a goal that naturopathic practitioners seem amenable to, though they desire the development of an evidence-base that accurately reflects their practice rather than one that is imposed and ignores the underlying philosophies that define their health care approach. These goals can be observed in the professions attempts to build research capacity and develop an international research agenda for naturopathic medicine, and their attempts to embrace this development as a necessary foundation for the future development of the profession [50]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Naturopaths are an increasingly significant part of the healthcare sector in Australia, yet despite their significant role there has been little research on this practitioner group. Currently the naturopathic profession in Australia is undergoing a period of rapid professional growth and change. However, to date most research exploring the perceptions of naturopaths has been descriptive in nature and has focused on those in leadership positions rather than grassroots practitioners. This article explores the perceptions and experiences of practising naturopaths on the challenges and future directions of their profession. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 naturopaths practising in the Darling Downs region of South-east Queensland, Australia to explore current perceived challenges in the naturopathic profession in Australia. Results Participants perceived a number of internal and external challenges relating to the profession of naturopathic medicine. These included a public misconception of the role of naturopathic medicine; the co-option of naturopathic medicine by untrained or unqualified practitioners; the devaluation of naturopathic philosophy as a core component of naturopathic practice; a pressure to move towards an evidence-based medicine model focused on product prescription; the increasing commercial interest infiltrating complementary medicine, and; division and fragmentation within the naturopathic profession. Naturopaths generally perceived government regulation as a solution for many of these challenges, though this may be representative of deeper frustrations and disconnections between the views of grassroots naturopaths and those in professional leadership positions. Conclusions Grassroots naturopaths identify a number of challenges that may have significant impacts on the quality, effectiveness and safety of naturopathic care. Given the significant role naturopaths play in healthcare in Australia the practice and policy implications of these challenges require further research attention.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "Clinical research into natural therapies has become an increasingly important focus for naturopathic physicians. Investigators at naturopathic medical schools have been the recipients of NIH grants and NIH NCCAM funded a project that lead to the development of a research agenda (Standish et al., 2006) that identified 4 strategic priorities: "
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past three decades, evidence has accumulated that demonstrates that the US healthcare system as currently structured is untenable given the cost of healthcare, poor outcomes associated with this cost, imminent shortages in many categories of health professionals, and underutilization of other health professionals. The system also faces other challenges, such as the lack of access to care and a growing demand by consumers for healthcare that offers choice, quality, convenience, affordability, and personalized care. Workforce analyses estimating needs and anticipated shortages of health professionals are projected on the current healthcare system, which generally does not include integrative healthcare and does not include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners. This paper examines the opportunities and implications of going beyond the current paradigm of workforce planning and health professions education and offers recommendations that detail how the health of the public may be served by incorporating an integrative health perspective into health professions education and workforce planning, deployment, and utilization.
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