Uni defends complementary medicine

SOUTHERN Cross University has rejected claims by the self-named group Friends of Science in Medicine that complementary medicine should not be taught in Australian universities.

Southern Cross University offers majors in naturopathy and complementary medicine as part of the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences degree, which also provides a pathway into graduate medicine, dietetics and physiotherapy. It is offered alongside traditional health studies.

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said the university was proud of the quality of the naturopathic studies and complementary medicine majors offered within the degree.

"The rigour of our teaching, the qualifications of our staff and the quality of our graduates are the best defence against such generalised condemnation of a field in which we have set the highest standards," Professor Lee said.

"Universities provide increased academic standards with transparent processes and educational quality assurance that leads to higher standards of education. In turn this will ensure a much greater level of regulation and professionalism with the industry."

Dean of Health and Head of the School of Health and Human Sciences Professor Iain Graham said the School worked with professional associations to design and deliver contemporary courses that meet the demands of a growing health industry.

"The Australian public are actively seeking these types of treatments, therefore we take seriously our commitment to provide appropriate education in areas of real community need.

"Of course you need evidence, both empirical and experience, to justify any practices and we welcome any scrutiny of education practices," Professor Graham said.

In the past 15 years Southern Cross University has contributed to two comprehensive reviews of complementary medicines.

Both reviews, the 2005 Victorian health department review on Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine and the 1996 Traditional Chinese Medicine joint review by the Victorian, NSW and Queensland health departments, supported the movement of those professions into a university setting to increase educational standards.
 



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