From the Director

22 June 2022

Welcome to our 2022 winter newsletter edition. NICM Health Research Institute look forward to proactively working with the newly elected Albanese Government and congratulate the new appointments this month of the Hon Mark Butler MP as Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ed Husic MP as Minister for Industry and Science, and the Hon Jason Clare MP as Minister for Education. We acknowledged former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and outgoing Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt for their contribution to the health and medical research sector. We trust the new Government will continue to support the broader public health agenda exemplified by consumer interest in integrative medicine practices.

We also congratulate all recipients in the recent Queen's Birthday 2022 Honours List,(opens in a new window) especially the late Dr Judy Jacka who was honoured for her service to community health through natural therapy. A wonderful recognition of her tremendous work and dedicated life service.

We are immensely proud to share the news of the University’s recent rankings, now first in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings in addressing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This achievement is a direct result of the University’s commitment and strategic initiatives aimed at tackling society’s grand challenges and supporting a more just and equitable world.

In other international news, you will read in this issue about my recent trip to India. I presented at the at the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit and attend as an international guest and representative of the Vice-Chancellor the historical launch of the World Health Organization Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (WHO GCTM), the world's first of its type. The new WHO GCTM will help create a global ecosystem to promote scientific research, innovation and further investment for traditional medicine and we look forward to future collaborations and projects with the centre.

In other collaborative projects and news, we have also been busy in preparing a Cooperative Research Centre(opens in a new window) (CRC)(opens in a new window) bid for hemp and medicinal cannabis in collaboration with Southern Queensland University, Deakins University, Southern Cross University, NSW Department of Primary Industry and GreenLab. The Hemp CRC will involve industry partners in building strong foundations for a secure, sustainable hemp industry. Program elements will include Hemp Production; Hemp for Health; Hemp Materials; Hemp Futures. As a research program leader, I am responsible for the development of the Hemp for Health program. The bid team has so far secured more than 15 industry partners. The stage 1 submission is expected to be due the end of July. If successful, this 10-year CRC program will reshape the hemp and medicinal cannabis industry, and significantly promote research and innovation and industry-academia collaboration.

NICM HRI have also become an initial signatory of The People's Declaration for Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Healthcare (TCIH). The People’s Declaration calls for better healthcare and the respectful collaboration between traditional, complementary and biomedical practices with the aim of achieving a person-centred and holistic approach to health. The international initiative outlines a desired state of healthcare such as healthcare that is evidence-based by integrating clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information.

In our winter edition, you will also read about our research and policy work in menstrual health and endometriosis, as well as our recent publication highlights, and a reminder to register for our upcoming and fascinating webinar, with guest speaker Dr Simon Ruffel, who will be presenting on Tuesday (28 June) ‘Ayahuasca - From the Jungle to the Lab’.

Furthermore, our congratulations this issue are also extended to Professor Caroline Smith on her appointment as Emeritus at Western Sydney University, in addition to Dr Diana Karamacoska for her funding grant awarded for her project “Testing the effectiveness and sustainability of a student co-facilitated dementia education program”.

I hope you enjoy our winter edition.

With best wishes,

Professor Dennis Chang