From the Director

Welcome to our spring edition and the start of the October long-weekend (opens in a new window) for those that live in NSW, QLD, SA or the ACT.

In this issue you will read about our very special memorial plaque and portrait unveiling of Dr Judy Jacka OAM, held last month here at Westmead, where we paid tribute to Judy and her lifetime accomplishments.

We are pleased to report on also our researchers’ recent accomplishments with grant successes:

  • Dr Mike Armour was awarded a research grant to conduct a clinical trial for insomnia.
  • Dr Mitch Low has also secured a Western Sydney Partnership grant for a pharmacokinetic study.
  • Dr Phoebe Zhou has received an industry fellowship award and will work with the industry partner in the coming months to undertake collaborative research projects.

In other accomplishments of note, to date our researchers have published for the year close to 100 papers, several recent highlights are covered in this newsletter, including Dr Mike Armour’s study on a web-based menstrual health literacy resource.

Our researchers have also been busy again attending in person conferences both locally and abroad. We congratulate Professor Jerome Sarris, Dr Carolyn Ee and Dr Diana Karamacoska for serving as committee chairs on some of these conferences. Additional congratulations also goes to Associate Professor Genevieve Steiner, who was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the Australian Dementia Research Forum 2022,

In other conference related news, we are a supporting organisation and signatory of the declaration and commitment to wildlife protection, which is part of the US Wildlife Protection in TCM Conference(opens in a new window) to be held in October by Virginia University of Integrative Medicine and New York College of TCM. The conference marks a celebration of the successful effort to remove tiger bone from TCM usage 24 years ago and brings to light the urgent need to come together once more to protect other endangered species still in use and at risk of extinction.

Western Sydney University, NICM Health Research Institute (NICM HRI), and the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia strongly support and strictly adhere to the moral and legal obligations to protect endangered species. Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which is known as the CITES agreement. It is underpinned by provisions in Australian Government legislation, namely in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  Historically, Western and NICM HRI were the first in Australia to run national conferences in 1997 and 1998 (in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services and the Australian Department of Environment), to enhance awareness and compliance by Chinese medicine practitioners to the new CITES regulations and the importance of protection of endangered species.

We continue to provide relevant information to Chinese medicine practitioners to promote awareness and education around the importance of protection of endangered species and compliance with relevant legislation. This includes our compilation and publication through the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Australia of the Chinese Herbal Compendium highlighting all relevant CITES restricted ingredients.

In further news, we are also pleased to report that the construction work for a new GMP manufacturing facility, a Natural Product Development Laboratory and additional PC2 space has been completed. We will soon start the relevant accreditation processes for these facilities and anticipate they will become operational early in 2023.

Western Sydney University and NICM HRI will be closed on Monday 3 October for the Labour Day public holiday observed in NSW. We will reopen on Tuesday 4 October. We wish you and your families an enjoyable and safe long-weekend.

With best wishes,

Professor Dennis Chang

30 September 2022