Director National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

Professor Jon Wardle

As the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine Centre’s Foundation Director and Maurice Blackmore Chair of Naturopathic Medicine, Professor Jon Wardle, is a highly accomplished expert in public health and integrative medicine research and policy. Jon brings together a vast array of expertise in the team of internationally recognised scholars who are not just leaders in their unique fields of research but are also leading health researchers in their own right. With a truly multidisciplinary faculty, the Centre’s team is dedicated to delivering translational outcomes. 

National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

Our mission is to contribute meaningful solutions to healthcare needs through naturopathic education, research, and advocacy, in communities throughout Australia and worldwide. We not only define new standards of naturopathic education and research, but enrich practice, professional standing, and empower future leaders in healthcare. 

The Call for Improvement of Healthcare Policy 

Jon has worked on complementary medicine and primary healthcare policy within Australia and internationally, and holds editorial positions on a number of journals, including editor-in-chief at the International Journal of Naturopathic Medicine and Advances in Integrative Medicine. He is a recognised voice for advocating for better recognition of naturopaths and the role they can play in preventive healthcare in Australia, and the need for the inclusion of naturopaths on committees and in policy development for Health. 

Jon was a key contributor of a report launched by the Health Minister in 2020; Self-care for Health: a National Policy Blueprint. This report, led by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University outlined a set of nine evidence-based priority policy actions to encourage self-care and its critical role in achieving and maintaining good health was emphasised. The need to approach self-care from both an individual's capacity and its support within our healthcare system and government policy was also highlighted including the importance of well-supported and resourced patients, as well as well-equipped practitioners, who are empowered to adequately support and educate their patients. 

What matters to us is that we change the conversation on health. We are committed to helping the patient be an active part of their treatment journey.” 

Several core principles underpinning naturopathic medicine incorporate this concept of self-care. For example, Docere – or doctor as teacher – instils into naturopathic practitioners the importance of educating patients and the public to take a more active role in their healthcare, and the importance of ‘meeting the patient where they are at’ to build their capacity for more agency and autonomy in their treatment journey. Naturopaths are guided by a therapeutic hierarchy prioritising low-level interventions, encouraging self-care as much as possible. Health promotion and prevention are at the core of naturopathic approaches to healthcare. 

At the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, there is a strong focus on self-care, with efforts underway to address some of the priority policy actions outlined in the blueprint: 

  • Developing educational resources and services aimed at the public to build health literacy related to self-care to improve individuals' capacity for self-care. 
  • Ensuring the quality and credibility of digital health resources by using patient-centred co-design principles informed by the best evidence available. 
  • Developing cross-disciplinary self-care core competencies around self-care and improvement of health literacy to be integrated into all health professional education and training at the Centre, for naturopaths, and other health professionals. 

The Centre is excited about this development and has continued to collaborate with the Mitchell Institute and other partners to promote individuals', families', and communities' ability to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability to the best of their capacity, with or without a healthcare provider. 

Ultimately, healthcare professionals, practitioners, researchers, and governments need to empower the public to take a role in their healthcare without resolving the dual responsibility of such an approach.

Donate to the Centre to help Jon and his team continue their invaluable work in advancing preventative healthcare.

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