The University of Newcastle, Australia


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Health sociology lecturer Dr Caragh Brosnan has been awarded a prestigious fellowship by Australia's leading research-intensive centre in the critical examination of complementary medicine.

Dr Caragh Brosnan

Awarded by the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), Dr Brosnan is one of only 12 researchers selected worldwide for the fellowship.

Dr Brosnan will be part of the ARCCIM International Complementary Medicine Research Leadership and Capacity Building Program, which also entails becoming a Visiting Research Fellow in the University of Technology Sydney's Faculty of Health. 

ARCCIM brings together world-renowned, multidisciplinary researchers and methodologists in the study of complementary medicine.

Complementary medicine includes a wide range of healing modalities that may be used within, alongside, or as an alternative to conventional medicine.   

"Complementary medicine is widely used in Australia and elsewhere, and there is a need to study it from multiple perspectives to better understand its impact on individuals, professions and society. That is what the ARCCIM Leadership Program aims to foster."

Dr Brosnan's interest in complementary medicine stems from her broader research focus on how different kinds of knowledge come to be valued in health care and the implications of those valuations.

Her research explores questions such as:  what are the values and ethics that underpin our health care practices? What historical, social, and political factors have shaped health professional knowledge and education?

Dr Brosnan's work on complementary therapies is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC). In 2013, Dr Brosnan was awarded the highly competitive ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to conduct a comparative study in Australia and the United Kingdom on complementary medicine university degrees; specifically focusing on chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine and osteopathy.

The ARCCIM program aims to identify, nurture and support future complementary medicine researchers to develop and lead a sustainable complementary medicine research culture, which is able to produce the evidence needed by patients, practitioners and policymakers.

The work undertaken with the ARCCIM fellowship will build directly on Dr Brosnan's DECRA success.

"Through the ARCCIM Fellowship I will have the opportunity to work with and be mentored by leading researchers studying complementary medicine within a range of disciplines. Hopefully this experience will help maximise the impact of my DECRA project and take my research in new directions."

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