Last Wednesday, was a big step forward for naturopathic medicine in Australia. One of Australia’s leading figures in naturopathic medicine, Markus Blackmore and his wife Caroline, made a record personal donation of $10 million to Southern Cross University.
The gift will be used to establish the Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus to provide higher education, research and engagement with the profession.
For Mr Blackmore, the significance lies in the final wish of his father, the late Maurice Blackmore, that naturopathy be properly recognised and respected as a profession. Maurice Blackmore was one of Australia’s pioneering naturopaths and founder of vitamin and dietary supplement brand, Blackmore’s.
“We have a responsibility to respond to the growing healthcare needs of Australia and evidence-based medicine will play an increasing active role in the response” -Mr Markus Blackmore.
Unlike Europe, where naturopathic remedies are widely prescribed by conventional doctors, the use of naturopathic medicine in Australia is unfortunately not common practice. The need for further research is very much needed to reaffirm its’ evidence and safety. Because naturopathic medicines are made from plants, it is not possible to patent or commercialise the natural compounds in the same way the pharmaceuticals drugs. Because of this, funding is often limited. The generosity of The Blackmore Foundation will help Australia follow in the footsteps of our European friends. The knock on effect will be lesser burden of lifestyle related and preventable chronic diseases on the Australian healthcare system.
There are limited higher education options for naturopathic medicine practitioners in Australia. As a soon to be Master’s student and an evidence driven clinician, I’m excited that the generous donation from Mr Blackmore and his wife, will allow Southern Cross University to open the Centre of Naturopathic Medicine which will be a hub for innovative higher level education and research.
The new centre is scheduled to open in 2019. You can follow the prorgress at https://www.scu.edu.au/naturopathic-medicine/