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Research Activities and Publications

Endeavour is committed to sustained scholarship and the systematic advancement of knowledge at all levels of the organisation crossing academic and operational departments.

Current research activities

Endeavour College of Natural Health is currently involved a range of research projects:

Practitioner Research And Collaboration Initiative (PRACI)

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

PRACI is one of the largest and most ambitious project of its kind in the world and will involve 14 complementary medicine (CM) healthcare professions. PRACI is based on established research design used by many health professions known as a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). The essence of a PBRN is a collaborative network of researchers in academic institutions and practitioners in real clinical settings. The essence of PRACI is to support the development of new research based on real clinical questions and grass-roots approaches in CM. Essentially, PRACI is a CM research project of national and international importance. It provides an opportunity for CM practitioners to show their commitment to supporting practitioner-driven research which is relevant to practice and the wider research community. PRACI is a legacy for the future of CM in Australia.

PRACI

Patient perceptions of empathy, empowerment and patient-centred care in complementary medicine student clinics

Project Lead Investigator: Hope Foley

The paradigm of patient-centred care has become the centre of a contemporary, person-focussed movement within the wider health and medical community, aimed at improving the nature of clinical care. Patient-centred care impacts the consultation process which can shape how health-care is delivered; the nature of the consultation and how the patient-practitioner relationship impacts upon physical and psychosocial health outcomes. Practitioner empathy has shown to enhance patient compliance and satisfaction, while comprehensive, individualised consultations and strong communication between practitioner and patient may promote favourable clinical outcomes. The aim of this project is to provide a preliminary examination of patient perceptions of the degree to which complementary medicine student practitioners employ a patient-centred approach during clinical consultation.

Understanding how complementary medicine practitioners relate to and interpret evidence in clinical practice

Project Lead Investigator: Joshua Sutherland

Over the past few decades, practitioners within complementary medicine (CM) have witnessed increasing pressure to shift from a culture of delivering care based on tradition and intuition, to a situation where decisions are guided and justified by the best available evidence – a clinical process known as evidence-based practice (EBP). Although Australian CM practitioners value and often attempt to apply EBP principles, there remains a heavy reliance on non-evidence-based resources, such as textbooks and traditional knowledge. The aim of this study is to understand how complementary practitioners relate to and interpret evidence. In addition, this study will explore what the term evidence means to CM practitioners, to investigate what evidence-based practice means to CM practitioners, to examine how CM practitioners acquire and appraise evidence, and to explore how CM practitioners interpret and apply evidence to clinical practice.

Training complementary medicine practitioners in the new millennium

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

This research project is an international research collaboration between Endeavour and the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, USA. The project explores the challenges and opportunities facing institutions responsible for the education of complementary medicine (CM) practitioners in contemporary health systems. The project will examine a number of significant topics relating to the interface between science and tradition for contemporary CM education and the methods utilised to deliver education training to CM practitioners including the educational delivery methods used in CM practitioner training, and the perceptions of CM faculty and student towards the role and value of traditional CM knowledge and new scientific knowledge.

Workforce analysis of osteopathy in Australia

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

Osteopathy is a registered health profession within Australia which fits within the broad category of manual therapy. The practice of osteopathy in regions such as the United Kingdom and North America are very different, however it is not clear how this is reflected in the practice of osteopathy in Australia. Likewise, there are a number of other health professions that also employ manual therapies as part of their therapeutic approach (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic, myotherapy, massage therapy) and the place, role and value of osteopathy within Australian healthcare requires further clarification. This study is a collaboration with Southern Cross University and employs a mixed methods design to examine both the current practice characteristics of Australian osteopaths, and the challenges and opportunities facing osteopathy from the perspective of osteopaths in clinical practice.

New Complementary Medicine Graduates Experiences of Practice

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

The success of graduates after obtaining a qualification is of paramount concern to all higher education institutions and of benefit to the economy more broadly. Data on the experiences, attitudes and perceptions of graduates post-graduation is an area often overlooking in workforce data and there is no data in the area of complementary medicine graduates to date. Given the paucity of research in this area and the enormous potential benefit this data could have to the education sector and complementary health practitioners, Endeavour’s Office of Research will undertake a preliminary investigation into the experiences and perceptions of their new complementary medicine graduates in getting in and conducting their practice. As the largest provider of complementary medicine education in the southern hemisphere, this institution is ideally placed to provide data on a broad range of modalities graduates practice settings and experiences.

Being an Australian Osteopath: a mixed methods study

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

Osteopathy is a registered health profession within Australia which fits within the broad category of manual therapy. The practice of osteopathy in regions such as the United Kingdom and North America are very different, however it is not clear how this is reflected in the practice of osteopathy in Australia. Likewise, there are a number of other health professions that also employ manual therapies as part of their therapeutic approach (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic, myotherapy, massage therapy) and the place, role and value of osteopathy within Australian healthcare requires further clarification. This study is a collaboration with Southern Cross University and employs a mixed methods design to examine both the current practice characteristics of Australian osteopaths, and the challenges and opportunities facing osteopathy from the perspective of osteopaths in clinical practice.

Improving preconception care behaviours of women intending to conceive

Project Lead Investigator: Dr Amie Steel

Preconception care is an important component of maternal health care for women of reproductive age as it lowers the risk of pregnancy and birth complications and improves health outcomes for their off-spring. There are significant gaps in our understanding of the current preconception care practices of women attempting to conceive in Australia, the factors which influence these practices and how this impacts on pregnancy outcomes. Important factors which may influence women’s decision-making towards preconception care practices include: women’s awareness of the benefit of preconception care; women’s past health behaviours (including complementary medicine (CM) use); and the approach and advice of health care providers (including CM practitioners) towards preconception care. This study will explore these important issues using an established nationally-representative sample. The insights gained from this study will be valuable in informing the practice of public health practitioners, health care providers and policy makers involved in supporting women during their child-bearing years.

Publications

Scholarly activity is encouraged in line with the seminal work of Boyer in which scholarship is described as four separate, yet overlapping, areas: the scholarship of discovery; the scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching.

As an example of the organisation-wide commitment to research and scholarship, a sample of evidence of scholarly activity undertaken by staff and contractors from Endeavour College of Natural Health recently is outlined in these pages:


This page was last updated on Tuesday 27 September 2016.