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Jill Dunn: Results from a cross sectional survey of
medical herbalists in New Zealand: potential and barriers for
Background: Herbal medicine is a self-regulated profession in New Zealand (N.Z.) like many of its CAM counterparts. The statutory regulation of herbal medicine practice is imminent due to the changing landscape of health provisions. Within the context of medical herbalists practicing multiple CAM modalities and the crossovers between CAM modalities and herbal medicine, it is unclear how regulation will impact on the integrative practice of herbal medicine. This study explores perceptions by medical herbalists of potentials and barriers for integration. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was sent out to 1070 CAM practitioners. Following a quantitative data analysis a qualitative thematic analysis was performed. Results: A total of 320 participants responded to the survey; 85 (44% out of 192) were medical herbalists. The majority considered regulation essential and most favoured statutory regulation. The potential for integration was perceived to be: comprehensive healthcare that would provide better management, safety and health outcomes for patients; improved communication between health professionals with shared knowledge and understanding of domains, networking, referral and mutual respect; easier access to testing and technology; increased professionalism and credibility and greater access to funding. Restriction of CAM treatment options, G.P. time constraints that limit shared knowledge and integration, and perceived lack of respect towards CAM were seen as barriers. Conclusions: Participants' interpretation of regulated practice implied integration. However, regulation and integration should not compromise the holistic framework of herbal medicine. In order for effective integration, GPs must be educated about herbal medicine practice.
Assunta Hunter: Becoming professional practitioners
The education of traditional and complementary medicine practitioners worldwide is linked to notions of professionalisation and to global processes. In many Asian countries notions of modernity and nationalist concerns have intersected to produce rapid transformations in the education and practice of traditional medicine practitioners. I draw on my fieldwork in Thailand to describe some of the fundamental shifts in the education of traditional medicine practitioners. I explore how global mobility has intersected with social and cultural change and with the economic imperatives of the tourist trade to create modernised professional traditional Thai medicine practitioners. I compare the trajectory of educational changes in traditional medicine in Thailand with those in Australia and consider the role of the state in creating professional practitioners and in marginalising certain forms of knowledge and certain practices. In Australia both the marginalisation of complementary medicine and its mainstreaming have been state supported projects. In this presentation I explore some aspects of the professionalisation of traditional and complementary medicine practitioners in the Australian context.