National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) Natural Therapies Working Committee is overseeing evidence evaluations on the clinical effectiveness of 16 natural therapies excluded from private health insurance rebates from 1 April 2019.
The evidence evaluations are being prepared for the Department of Health for the Natural Therapies Review 2019–20.
The Natural Therapies Working Committee was established under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (NHMRC Act).
Terms of reference and membership
- Postal address
- Natural Therapies Review Team
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601
- Email address
Member information and Disclosure of Interests
Members are appointed for their expertise and experience across a diverse range of professions and fields. NHMRC also takes into consideration balancing the benefit of having persons with expertise against the risks of their interests biasing a process. Committee members are required to disclose their interests on an ongoing basis, in line with NHMRC's Policy on the Disclosure of Interests Requirements for Prospective and Appointed NHMRC Committee Members (PDF 490 KB). Members are asked to identify, to the best of their ability, interests related to the work of the committee, including:
- financial interests
- working or personal relationships
- research funding
- affiliations or associations
- institutional interests
- publications and presentations
- social or other interests.
A summary of each members' declared interests is provided below. Throughout the project members are required to inform NHMRC of any changes to their interests, and management strategies are put in place as needed.
Section 6.1 of NHMRC's Disclosure of Interest Policy outlines the requirements for making a determination about members' interests.
If a management strategy is required, it may include (but is not limited to):
- participation in discussion but not decision making (partial participation)
- be excluded from discussion and decision making (no participation).
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Professor Green is an international leader in the epidemiology of melanoma and skin cancer. Her ground-breaking randomised controlled trial of long-term sunscreen application in an Australian community provides the scientific basis for clinical and public health advice about sunscreen use for skin cancer prevention. Other significant contributions include insight into risk factors for ovarian cancer and into the burden of cancer in Indigenous Australians. Professor Green has received international awards and is a recognised advocate for cancer control, including through longstanding membership on national and international scientific and advisory councils. She has trained and mentored a generation of epidemiologists and clinician-scientists. She chaired the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing Expert Advisory Group and is an Honorary Senior Scientist at QIMR Berghofer.
Subscribing member of Public Health Association Australia.
Deakin University, VIC
Professor Bennett has a distinguished career in public health practice, research, academic governance and teaching. She joined Deakin University in 2009 after more than eight years with the University of Melbourne as Associate Professor in Epidemiology, Deputy Chair of the Academic Programs Committee in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Director of Population Health Practice in the Melbourne School of Population Health. Prior to that, Professor Bennett worked with the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments in a variety of senior positions, including Olympic Public Health Coordinator for Northern Sydney. She was also founding Chair and President of the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions (CAPHIA).
Participate in clinical Pilates classes in my own time.
Western Sydney University, NSW
Professor Bensoussan is one of Australia's prominent integrative medicine researchers with a focus on Chinese medicine spanning 30 years. He was Chair of the Advisory Committee for Complementary Medicines of the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (2011–14) following ten years prior Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration committee service, and served on the National Medicines Policy Committee (2008–11). Professor Bensoussan has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization, the Singapore Health Sciences Authority Expert Panel for Herbal Medicines, on four international journal editorial boards and is an invited grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
- Background in integrative medicine research with a focus on Chinese medicine spanning 30 years. Foundation Director of NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University from 2008 to Oct 2020. Continues to work in a fractional appointment at NICM. As a health and medical research institute, NICM receives research grants and donations from foundations, universities, government agencies, individuals and industry. Sponsors and donors provide untied funding for work to advance the vision and mission of the Institute, the details of which are publicly available. As part of NICM Health Research Institute role involved in the conduct and higher degree supervision of research in traditional, complementary and integrative medicine, including herbal and nutritional medicine, yoga and tai chi. This includes publications and peer review of original research papers and review articles, along with ad hoc grant reviews. Provides independent research advice for industry.
- NICM Health Research Institute has been commissioned to draft efficacy monographs on Vitamins B6 and B12 (Nov 2019).
- Qi Huang International Award for achievement in Chinese Medicine, Beijing Nov 14, 2019.
- Member of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association.
- Western Sydney University has an Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture. I have no research, administrative or other role with the Institute.
- As part of work with NICM Health Research Institute attended an industry research meeting China (Nov 2019) that was paid for by the industry partner.
- Volunteer peer reviewer.
- Family member who is an occasional instructor in Pilates, one of the 16 natural therapies being evaluated in the natural Therapies Review. I do not benefit financially from their work.
Monash University and Cabrini Institute, VIC
Professor Buchbinder is an Australian NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. She has been the Director of the Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology since its inception in 2001 and a Professor in the Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine since 2007. She is a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist who combines clinical practice with research in a wide range of multidisciplinary projects relating to arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. Other roles include Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Musculoskeletal and Back and Neck, founding member and Chair Executive Committee, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network and she also chairs the Australian Living National Guidelines for Inflammatory arthritis. She was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to epidemiology and rheumatology in 2020. She has been recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher since 2018.
- Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Musculoskeletal and Cochrane Back and Neck. Both Cochrane groups have published reviews on topics related to some of the natural therapies within scope of the Natural Therapies Review.
- Member, Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard Topic Working Group, for the Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health Care 2020-. Natural therapies may be considered.
- Member, Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) since 2016.
- Member, National Prescribing Service (NPS) MedicineWise Clinical Intervention Advisory Group since 2018.
- Member, Clinical Working Group for the RACGP guidelines for the non-surgical management of hip and knee osteoarthritis 2018. The RACGP Guidelines included recommendations about tai chi and yoga, and some nutritional supplements.
- Published papers that discuss guidelines for use of some of the natural therapies included in the Natural Therapies Review.
- Chief Investigator for the following NHMRC grants:
- Project Grant (2012) ‘Autologous platelet-rich plasma or glucocorticoid injection for tennis elbow
- Project Grant (2013) ‘A Clinical Trial of Anticoagulation in Scleroderma Heart-Lung Disease’
- Centres of Research Excellence (2014) ‘Centre of Research Excellence in Translation of Research into Improved OUtcomes in Musculoskeletal Pain & Health (CRE TRIUMPH)’
- Research Fellowships (2014) ‘Improving translation of evidence into practice for musculoskeletal conditions’
- Project Grant (2015) ‘CROSSFIRE: Combined Randomised and Observational Study of Surgery for Fractures In the distal Radius in the Elderly’
- Project Grant (2015) ‘Hype or Hope? platelet-Rich plasma as a symptom- and disEaSe-modifying Treatment fOR knee ostEoarthritis - the RESTORE trial’
- Programs (2015) ‘Using healthcare wisely: reducing inappropriate use of tests and treatments’
- Centres of Research Excellence (2017) ‘Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network’
- Partnerships (2017) ‘Partnership Centre: Health System Sustainability’
- Centres of Research Excellence (2019) ‘Low Back Pain Centre for Research Excellence’
- Investigator Grant (2020) ‘Better evidence more rapidly implemented to optimise health for people with musculoskeletal conditions’
- Supporter of Friends of Science in Medicine since 2011. Involvement to date has been limited to signing a letter calling on a university to reconsider its plans to offer a new non-mainstream chiropractic course. Has not contributed financially to FSM.
Professor Hillier is an academic and clinician with teaching and research interests in the broad field of neuroscience and rehabilitation. One of her main research areas is on the effectiveness of rehabilitation approaches after stroke - this includes the role of afferent stimulation or training using multimodal feedback, as well as models of rehabilitation and access to rehabilitation. The influence of rehabilitation on neuroplasticity is also a focus. She also has an interest in movement education and intervention approaches for other populations such as children with developmental coordination disorder or people who are ageing.
As well as conducting clinical trials to produce primary evidence, Professor Hillier is an experienced Cochrane reviewer (vestibular rehabilitation, HIV, self-management after stroke, task-specific training) and has published many systematic reviews for comparative effectiveness trials as well as clinical measurement. Professor Hillier maintains a small private practice at the University and contributes to the community through her work with stroke organisations locally and nationally. She teaches regularly in Australia and internationally to assist clinicians to implement best practice.
She has supervised 21 candidates to completion in PhD programs in Australia and overseas. Her current role at the University of South Australia is Dean: Research for UniSA: Allied Health and Human Performance. She is also a member of the Australian Feldenkrais Guild inc.
- Affiliated with the Australian Feldenkrais Guild Inc (member)
- Published in the area - RCTs and systematic reviews of Feldenkrais and yoga as motor learning/rehabilitation approaches.
- Run a small number of physiotherapy sessions for clients. My physiotherapy practice incorporates the Feldenkrais Method
- Chief Investigator for a 2016 NHMRC Partnership grant 'A network of sites and ‘up-skilled’ therapists to deliver best practice stroke rehabilitation of the upper limb’.
- Included in a quotation and contract for work for the 2015 Homeopathy Review. NHMRC contracted the University of South Australia for the services of a team to carry out an overview (systematic review of systematic reviews) on the effectiveness of homeopathy. However, Professor Hillier was not involved in preparing the quotation, planning the overview, or conducting the overview. NHMRC paid University of South Australia for the work. NHMRC and the University of South Australia agreed to end the contract before the overview was completed.
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, SA
Associate Professor Middleton holds an NHMRC fellowship and is an affiliate with the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide. She is a perinatal epidemiologist and implementation scientist with particular research interests in preterm birth, nutrition, stillbirth and diabetes in pregnancy. Her "tools of trade' are randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, research synthesis (quantitative and qualitative), guidelines, research reporting standards and translating research evidence into policy and practice.
Since 2005, she has held continuous national and international research funding in perinatal health and in research methodologies, totalling >$9M in the last 5 years. In addition to her NHMRC Fellowship, she is or has been a CI on seven NHMRC project grants, as well as attracting funding from other local and international bodies. Professor Middleton is involved in several Aboriginal health partnerships and works with the Cochrane Collaboration in multiple roles, including being an editor with Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group and leading their Australian and New Zealand satellite.
She is also an academic editor with PLoSMED, a member of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand’s policy, stillbirth and IMPACT committees, the NHMRC Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence Committee and the Expert Advisory Committee for NHMRC’s antenatal care guidelines.
She has published widely and has over 250 publications.
- Member/past member of Guideline Development Committees e.g. National Pregnancy Guidelines Active in the Cochrane Collaboration (e.g. editor for Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth)
- Pregnancy Care co-lead, SAHMRI Women and Kids
- Recipient of the following funding to conduct research related to complementary medicine (largely nutrition) • NHMRC Investigator grant (2020) CIA • Centre of Research Excellence Grant x 2: CICx2
- Methodologist - Pregnancy Care guidelines
- Relevant Publications (last five years):
- Wilson, N. A., Mantzioris, E., Middleton, P. F., Muhlhausler, B. S. Influence of clinical characteristics on maternal DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acid status in pregnancy: - A systematic review:.
- Wilson, N. A., Mantzioris, E., Middleton P. F, Muhlhausler, B. S. Influence of sociodemographic, lifestyle and genetic characteristics on maternal DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acid status in pregnancy: A systematic review. PLEFA 2020
- Simmonds, L. A., Sullivan, T. R., Skubisz, M. Middleton P. F. et al, Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in pregnancy—baseline omega-3 status and early preterm birth: exploratory analysis of a randomised controlled trial
- Wilson, N. A., Mantzioris, E., Middleton, P. F., Muhlhausler, B. S. Gestational age and maternal status of DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy: A systematic review. PLEFA 2019
- De Seymour, J. V., Simmonds, L. A., Gould, J., Makrides, M, Middleton P. Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent preterm birth: Australian pregnant women's preterm birth awareness and intentions to increase omega-3 fatty acid intake
- Middleton P, Gomersall J. C., Gould, J. F., Shepherd, E., Olsen, S. F., Makrides, M. Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018.
- Homer, C. S., Oats, J, Middeton P et al. Updated clinical practice guidelines on pregnancy care. MJA 2018.
- Currently an editor for the Cochrane Collaboration Pregnancy and Childbirth group. Pregnancy and Childbirth have published several systematic reviews that evaluate the effectiveness of natural therapies.
- Led a team from the Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies (ARCH) which carried out work for the 2015 Homeopathy Review. NHMRC contracted the team to review literature received during the public consultation phase of the 2015 Homeopathy Review. The team reviewed the literature from the public consultation and wrote the report: ‘Effectiveness of homeopathy for clinical conditions: Evaluation of the Evidence. Review of Literature from public submissions’. The report informed the NHMRC Information Paper ‘Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions’. NHMRC paid ARCH for the work.
Southern Cross University, NSW
Professor Myers is a member of the Complementary Medicine Evaluation Committee of the Commonwealth Government, a statutory expert advisory committee to the Office of Complementary Medicines of Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Australian Government Department of Health. He has acted as consultant to industry, government and educational institutions on a broad range of issues involving natural medicine. He is a co-author of Government reviews on the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia (1996) and on Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine (2005).
- Holds academic positions as a Professor in Naturopathic, Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Southern Cross University and Western Sydney University. Undertakes clinical, laboratory and epidemiological research for the complementary medicine industry researching the pharmacology of complementary medicines. Over the past three decades has worked with a wide range of industry sponsors both in Australia and internationally.
- Sits on the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Pharmalink International. This company produces products from New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels. I receive a stipend for this activity.
- Named inventor on a patent filed by Pharmalink International in December 2019 which will provide a small royalty once the product named in the patent is on the market.
- Non-executive board member of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
- Fellow of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
- Member of the Advisory Board of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University
- Member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
- Fellow of the Australian Society of Lifestyle Medicine
JBI, University of Adelaide, SA
Dr Porritt is a Senior Research Fellow for the Implementation Science program of JBI. She is an active contributor to the field of evidence-based health care. In her current role she is the Program Manager of the Implementation Science team, Academic lead for the Cardiovascular Care specialty and the Emergency and Trauma specialty and chair of the Implementation Science Methods Group. She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Nursing Practice and the JBI Databases for Systematic Review and Implementation Reports as well as an active, contributing member to various methodology and evidence based practice committees. Dr Porritt is an experienced, published researcher having been involved in the conduct of multiple systematic reviews and various health related research projects. She has a particular interest in developing methodology for the synthesis of qualitative evidence.
- Senior Research Fellow, Joanna Briggs Institute, Implementation Science, University of Adelaide
- Publications related to evidence synthesis of complementary therapies
- Associate Editor, JBI Database Systematic Reviews and Implementation Report, International Journal of Nursing Practice - Core staff member, JBI Adelaide GRADE Centre and member of GRADE working parties. - Member of Cochrane Nursing Care Field, APHRA Australia, Health, Joanna Briggs Institute Scientific Committee, Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Methods Group - Chair, Implementation Science Methods Group, Joanna Briggs Institute - Supervisor to post-graduate higher degree students at the University of Adelaide - Involved in the conduct and publication of multiple systematic reviews undertaken using various methodologies with a particular interest in developing the methodology for the synthesis of qualitative evidence.
Southern Cross University, NSW
Professor Wardle is Professor of Public Health Foundation Director of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University. Professor Wardle holds visiting positions at the University of Oxford, University of Washington, and Boston University. He is also convenor of the Public Health Association of Australia's Research Advisory Group, which promotes and advocates for public health research and development on complementary medicine issues. He has clinical backgrounds in naturopathy and nursing, postgraduate training in public health and health law and doctoral qualifications in public health. Professor Wardle has worked on complementary medicine and primary healthcare policy in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Latin America and India, and holds editorial positions on a number of journals, including editor-in-chief of Advances in Integrative Medicine.
- Professional memberships relating to positions as a naturopath, public health professional and academic. These positions are limited to professional memberships, except for the additional leadership positions in the public health associations as listed below.
- Unpaid roles on the executives of numerous organisations that have a relationship with complementary medicine. These include as the convenor for the Evidence, Research and Practice in Complementary Medicine Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia and Secretary General of the World Naturopathic Federation. Serves on the editorial board for 5 peer-reviewed journals focused on complementary medicine, including as Editor-in-Chief for Advances in Integrative Medicine
- Foundation Director of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) and Maurice Blackmore Chair of Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University. The NCNM and the Maurice Blackmore Chair position were established with $10 million in funding from the Blackmore Foundation. The Blackmore Foundation does not provide input on what research the NCNM conducts or how the research is carried out.
- Clinical background which includes naturopathic medicine and have practised and conducted research into several of the therapies listed as being under review in this Committee
- Royalties for publication of textbook
- Engaged on multiple paid consultancies related to natural therapies. These include consultancies for the World Health Organization and Pan-American Health Organization, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman, New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, New South Wales Health Professional Councils Authority and has served as an expert witness in cases involving complementary medicine
- Receipt of travel and/or accommodation support to participate and deliver presentations at the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research, the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health, the International Conference on the Science of Botanicals and other academic conferences not focusing on complementary medicines where he has spoken about complementary medicines
- Direct or indirect (as part of a team) receipt of multiple grants related to complementary medicine research, some of which have come from entities involved with complementary medicine, including the Blackmore Foundation, the Association of Massage Therapists, the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, the Jacka Foundation, Integria Health Care and Artemis Pharmaceuticals. These grants have been related to research costs and the institutions have had no role in design, implementation or analysis of research
- Lead author on the following recent publications:
- Wardle J; Steel, A; Sibbritt, D; Adams, J (eds) (in press, contracted for 2020 release) Research in Complementary Medicine Research: A Practical Guide. Elsevier: Sydney Wardle J (in press, contracted for May 2020)
- "Capacity Building in Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: A Focus Upon Public Health and Health Services Research" in Adams J et al (eds) Public Health and Health Services Research in Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: International Perspectives Imperial College Press: London Wardle J; Chung V; Gallego D; Adams J (2019)
- "Disclosure of complementary medicine use to medical providers: a systematic review and meta-analysis" Scientific Reports 9(1), 1573 Wardle J; Steel A; Casteleijn D; Bowman D (2019)
- "Associations between complementary medicine, satisfaction with body weight and shape, and the use of methods to lose or control weight: Results of a national survey of 8009 Australian women" Complementary Therapies in Medicine 36: 100-106. Wardle J (2018)
- "Associations between cancer screening behaviour and complementary medicine use: results of a national cross-sectional survey of 9151 Australian women" Integrative Cancer Therapies 17(3): 979-985 Wardle J; Sibbritt D; Adams J (2018)
- "Practitioner perceptions and experiences of health practitioner registration in New South Wales" Sydney: Health Professions Councils Authority
- Employed by Southern Cross University as Professor of Public Health and Director of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine. Also has a role as head of the regulatory, policy and legislative stream at the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney.
- Spouse is a naturopathic practitioner (and Chinese medicine practitioner) who has several interests related to naturopathy, including being a board member of a naturopathic association.
RMIT University Melbourne, VIC
Professor Zhang's expertise includes acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine clinical trials, Systematic review/meta-analysis and health research methodologies. He has published more than 150 peer-review articles and co-authored more than 20 evidence-based clinical Chinese medicine monographs. He had served as a consultant to the World Health Organization Western Pacific Office and, has regularly reviewed research grants for the Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund since 2014. Professor Zhang is a visiting professor to The Education University of Hong Kong and has been an editorial board member of six peer-review journals including the American Journal of Chinese Medicine and BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Leader (Feb 2011 ~ present) of Chinese Medicine in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University. He teaches evidence-based healthcare practice to undergraduate and postgraduate students and supervises MPhi and PhD students in the field of evidence-based complementary medicine.
- Deputy Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine (RMIT); Co-Deputy Director, China-Australia International Research Centre for Chinese Medicine (RMIT); Director, Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute, RMIT University Former Company Secretary, Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ARCCAM) Ltd; Standing Director, International Chinese Medicine Clinical Standards Working Committee, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies.
- Research grant support to conduct academic research since 2005 including Chief investigator on NHMRC grant (#616609) and National Institute of Complementary Medicine Research Grant: The effect of a standardised ginseng extract in patients with moderate COPD.
- Numerous publications on complementary medicine, systematic review, clinical trials, epidemiology, public health and evidence-based healthcare practice including co-author of evidence-based clinical Chinese medicine monograph series (29 volumes, 11 published, 18 pending).
- Consultant (2018), World Health Organisation Western Pacific Regional Office; Grant Review Referee Panel, Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF), Hong Kong; Editorial Board Member of 6 peer-review journals (voluntary work) including the American Journal of Chinese Medicine and BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Received travel and/or accommodation support to participate and deliver speeches at the Global University Network of Traditional Medicine Conferences.