Prof Kerryn Phelps from the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association puts it well in this open letter released in recent days…
DOCTORS OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE REJECT CALLS FOR UNIVERSITIES TO STOP TEACHING COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE COURSES
Recent statements made by the lobby group calling themselves “Friends of Science in Medicine” are reprehensible for their lack of scientific rigour as they choose to ignore tens of thousands of peer reviewed or referenced publications supporting the efficacy of numerous natural and nutritional therapies. This is a blatant mis-representation of information to the public and to the university vice chancellors they are lobbying.
The Australasian Integrative Medicine Association gives our full and ongoing support for the teaching of university based courses which incorporate the study of complementary and alternative therapies which are evidence-based. We also strongly support any university based research currently being undertaken or proposed in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.
AIMA’s position is that healthcare practice should be evidence based wherever possible. Our mission statement is “To act as the peak medical body promoting the practice of evidence-based integrative medicine, research and education as the gold standard for optimising wellbeing, prevention and management of disease in Australasian healthcare systems”.
AIMA agrees that rigorous academic standards and evidence for scientific conclusions and healthcare practices are of the essence and should be the basis of all university teaching.
The overwhelming evidence is that the provision of university courses in complementary medicine is the best way to improve standards, promote research and protect the public. We must not remove the discussion, the teaching and the research of complementary medicine from universities.
It is a matter of concern for us when the debate and terminology become simplistic, generalised and uninformed with regard to the university courses in question and the whole of the discipline of complementary therapies. Our future practitioners, both medical and complementary, need to continue to be educated at university level in order to integrate all evidence-based therapies into the mainstream as safe and effective options for the Australian public.
In addition, those doctors already qualified in medicine must be provided with regular education in order to remain abreast of the research supporting the efficacy of these therapies. All practicing doctors must be encouraged to integrate this information into their current practice in line with the way new pharmaceuticals are integrated.
We look forward to being able to continue to work alongside well-trained and well informed complementary practitioner and medical graduates in a co-operative and co-ordinated way and not in a combative and divisive way.
Prof Kerryn Phelps