China connection to build bridge to better health in Australia
A new research-led Chinese medicine clinic in Sydney, better patient outcomes and the potential for Australia to tap into the $170 billion global traditional Chinese medicine market are among the benefits set to flow from an agreement signed today in Canberra in the presence of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping.
The Memorandum of Understanding is between world-leading Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) and the University of Western Sydney (UWS), which is the home of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM). UWS and NICM have a longstanding relationship with BUCM in both research and education.
The focus of the new agreement will be the development of an Australian–first, high quality Chinese medicine integrative clinical service in Sydney, which will have a close connection to both clinical and laboratory-based research. It is hoped that the research will lead to the development of new treatments for unmet medical needs and new medicines for export around the world.
Australia is the only Western nation to have a unified national registration of Chinese medicine practitioners and strict regulation of medicines, which delivers safe healthcare to thousands of Australians every year.
UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover says the well-established regulatory framework and the strong international reputation for complementary medicine research at NICM - assessed by the Australian Research Council as 'well above world standard' (the highest rating) – provides the ideal environment for the new partnership with BUCM to deliver benefits to patients and the nation's economy.
"Together UWS and BUCM will conduct the research and clinical trials required to validate and translate Chinese medicines into an integrated healthcare setting in Australia," says Professor Glover.
"The connections forged with the internationally regarded researchers at BUCM will further enhance the reputation of UWS as a centre of research excellence that delivers practical outcomes for our communities."
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine President, Professor Xu Anlong, says the educational and research opportunities for students and academics from both nations created by this partnership are extraordinary.
"The establishment of the joint centre for Chinese medicine between BUCM and UWS will provide a world class facility integrating clinical service, education and research, together, to serve the Australian people and promote Chinese medicine to the world, particularly in developed countries like Australia," says Professor Xu.
Director of NICM, Professor Alan Bensoussan says the close collaboration with BUCM will increase the capacity of scientists and clinicians to research Chinese medicine treatments.
"This agreement is the bridge that brings the research conducted in the laboratory closer to the patient's beside where it can make a real difference to a person's health and wellbeing," says Professor Bensoussan.
"The closer collaboration with colleagues in China and the integration of research into a clinical setting will accelerate the development of more effective treatments for the most pressing and costly chronic health problems facing the world," says Professor Bensoussan
About the University of Western Sydney (UWS)
UWS is a vibrant, modern university, located in one of the fastest growing regions in Australia – Greater Western Sydney, home to over 2 million people. UWS has over 40,000 students and 3,000 staff across nine campuses. 70 per cent of the University's research in the last Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment was named as "world standard" or above. The University is also recognised for its high calibre teaching - receiving the Prime Minister's Australian University Teacher of the Year Award for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012).
About the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM)
NICM at the University of Western Sydney was established in 2007 by the Australian and NSW Governments. It has over 50 researchers and higher degree research students. NICM's research program focuses on the quality, safety, and effectiveness of complementary medicine, with a particular emphasis on Chinese medicine. NICM's comprehensive research spans laboratory analysis, clinical trials and translation into practice. NICM is the only Australian complementary medicine research centre to receive the highest ranking of 5 in the Australian Government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) – signalling research well above world standard.
About the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM)
Founded in 1956, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) is one of the longest established higher education institutions for Chinese medicine in the People's Republic of China. BUCM is the only university of Chinese medicine directly under China's Ministry of Education with the support of China "211 Project", a national development project committed to achieving first-class international-level university education. BUCM has 13 schools and offers degree programs at undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels in Chinese medicine. BUCM delivers world-class degree programs, training and research across a wide range of subjects related to Chinese medicine and is committed to offering the best possible educational, cultural and social experience for its students. The University has a vibrant community of 22,308 students from different backgrounds and a wide range of facilities and top-ranked affiliated hospitals in Chinese medicine through which students and faculties may benefit from top-level teaching, research and clinical practice opportunities.
17 November 2014
Photographs: Sally Tsoutas and Nicholas Smith
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