Blackmores Institute is proud to introduce Rebecca Reid, research fellow of the International Naturopathy Research Leadership Program run by UTS:ARCCIM and supported by Blackmores Institute and the Jacka Foundation.
This world-first naturopathy research leadership program is designed to ensure growth and rigour in naturopathy research globally, with a view to establishing a sustainable high-quality research culture.
While undertaking a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) at Endeavour College of Natural Health, with a vision of going into clinical naturopathic practice, Rebecca’s passion for research was ignited.
After graduation, she began her postgraduate studies by taking part in the Student Summer Research Program at Endeavour. She soon applied for a Masters of Health Research at the University of Technology Sydney, however, due to her complementary medicine (CM) research experience she was offered a PhD.
From the very beginning, Rebecca’s research journey has been fruitful and has continued to provide her with opportunities to work within the CM research space and with well-regarded researchers both in Australia and internationally.
Rebecca has been a member of the Office of Research for nearly 4 years and is currently in the role of Research Project Coordinator. She has presented at national and international conferences, collaborated on a number of research articles with internal and external colleagues, and is a Fellow from the inaugural International Naturopathy Research Leadership Program.
Blackmores Institute spoke with Rebecca recently and she shared some of her research insights and experiences so far.
Tell us about the research you are conducting as part of this leadership program?
Currently, I am collaborating with the other research fellows in both the CM and Naturopathy Leadership Programs. Within the CM Program, I am collaborating on projects that are investigating the prevalence and characteristics of CM users across the globe. Within the Naturopathy Program, I am contributing to publications on a range of topics including Western Herbal Medicine and irritable bowel syndrome, traditional aspects of naturopathic curriculum globally, and the prevalence of naturopathic consultations. It is expected that these publications and others will be published in the latter half of 2018.
What prompted you to choose this area of research?
My main research area is women’s health, with a particular focus on endometriosis. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I was always in this area of research and have been fortunate to continue this passion through my PhD on the naturopathic management of endometriosis in Australia. My interest in this area is largely due to personal experiences and passion for being a voice for the much needed call for research in this area. I also have an interest in the traditional roots of naturopathy, which is a vital element of naturopathic practice.
How do you believe your research will add value or impact the CM community?
Currently, there is very limited research on this area - I believe that my research will add and be a resource for naturopaths who manage this condition in clinical practice. The traditional aspects of naturopathy are important to the profession and it would be great to see more scientific research highlighting the importance of our traditional roots.
Are there any obstacles/challenges/surprises have you had to overcome in this research?
The largest obstacle I have faced so far has been the lack of access to traditional resources on naturopathy which led me to undertake a research project overseas, which was an incredible opportunity.
It has also been surprising to see that while the naturopathic profession calls for more clinically relevant research, there has been limited action from naturopaths. Participation from naturopaths is important in advancing naturopathic research in Australia.
What are your hopes for this research?
In the broader context, continuing to see the growth of naturopathic research would be most ideal, especially with naturopaths in clinical practice participating and collaborating on research projects. In terms of my area of interest, continuing to build the naturopathic research profile for this condition is my biggest hope and that further research can be built upon the work I am doing.
What do you feel will be the clinical implications for this research?
In the context of my PhD, as this area is underdeveloped, my research may provide naturopaths with an assortment of tools they can utilise to assist in managing the condition and provide support by improving women’s quality of life through treating the cause and managing endometriosis symptoms.
At this stage, is there anything HCP’s take from this for their practice?
It’s vital to ensure that practitioners update their knowledge with the changes occurring through evidence-based research, and are able to critically reflect on these changes and understand what implications there may be for their practice and their patients.
What has being part of this program meant to you and your research?
Being part of this program has been an incredible experience thus far. It has provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with CM and naturopathic researchers from all over the globe, and has provided with a learning opportunity to continue to advance my research skills by being mentored from exceptional researchers.
What are your hopes for Naturopathic practice and practitioners in the future?
My hope for naturopathic practice is that the profession becomes recognized for the value that it has in the Australian health care system and that naturopaths in clinical practice begin to have an active role in collaborating with researchers to develop clinically relevant research.
What do you plan to do when you finish this research?
Research and its outcomes are ever changing. I would like to continue building research in this space and other areas of interest that relate to the naturopathic profession.
Read more about Rebecca Reid
Read more about the Research program
Read interviews with other International Naturopathy Research Leadership Program Fellows:
Dr Joanna Harnett
Dr Erica McIntyre