Complementary Therapies in Cardiac Surgery: An Integrative Medicine Program in Public Health

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The term ‘integrative medicine’ describes the integration of complementary and conventional medicine practices to achieve the best health outcomes for patients. There are many models of integration. This presentation describes an integrative practice currently operating in the public health sector in Australia. As a health researcher with the Integrative Cardiac Wellness Program at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, I will describe our approach to research, education and service delivery of complementary therapies to cardiac surgery patients.

This presentation will outline how we have overcome the many obstacles to the use of complementary medicines in public health settings to conduct our own research trials and subsequently translate these into services to cardiac surgery patients in a large public hospital. I will show how we draw on current evidence of efficacy and safety of complementary therapies to build viable research protocols congruent with hospital practices, pushing the boundaries of mainstream practice to implement more holistic and integrated approaches to health care.


Keywords: Integrative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Alternative Medicine, Public Health, Cardiac Surgery
Stream: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Ondine Spitzer

Research Assistant, Integrative Cardiac Wellness Group
Department of Surgery
Alfred Centre, Monash University

Melbourne, Vic, Australia

I am a complementary medicine practitioner with 15 years clinical experience in patient consultation, education experience teaching clinical skills and herbal medicine therapeutics and supervisory experience in student clinics for naturopathy students. I have also been a tutor and examiner of medical students and am a past President of the Victorian Herbalists Association. After completing a Masters of Social Health in medical anthropology in 2004 I have focused on research pertaining to the practice of complementary medicine in Australia. I have worked in this capacity on a number of projects at the University of Melbourne and Monash University and am currently involved in clinical research at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

Ref: W12P0053