Practitioner Research and Collaboration Initiative

PRACI is the largest national practice-based research network for complementary healthcare practitioners in the world.

PRACI is committed to:

  • Strengthening the development of meaningful and practice relevant research in complementary healthcare
  • Supporting productive communication and engagement between complementary healthcare practitioners and researchers
  • Stimulating and developing a sustainable research culture within complementary healthcare in Australia
  • Facilitating the development of research networks in a range of complementary healthcare fields across Australia and internationally
  • Progressing broad, rigorous scientific investigation to inform complementary healthcare patient care

We are grateful to the Endeavour College of Natural Health for funding PRACI, and to the PRACI members who form the network for their time and commitment to research in their profession.

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For Practitioners

PRACI is arguably the most important complementary medicine research infrastructure in Australia and supports practitioners in being about to work alongside researchers to build the evidence base for the complementary medicine professions.

PRACI opens for new members every couple of years so if you would like to keep abreast of PRACI developments and be notified when the next recruitment round will open please sign on to our biannual newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this page) and follow us on Facebook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more? Take a look at our FAQ to find out how PRACI is relevant to you. A detailed overview of the PRACI project has also been published in Advances in Integrative Medicine.

Q. What is PRACI?

Q. What is a practice-based research network (PBRN)?

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines a practice-based research network (PBRN) as a group with at least 15 ambulatory practices and/or 15 clinicians devoted principally to the primary care of patients, affiliated with each other (and often with an academic or professional organization) in order to investigate questions related to community based practice.

The defining characteristics of a PBRN include:

  • A mission and statement of purpose including an ongoing commitment to research;
  • Channels for communication among network participants;
  • A director with responsibility for administration of the network and at least one support staff;
  • An advisory board that solicits input from communities of patients served by the PBRN clinicians

Q. Why is PRACI so important?

As a PBRN, PRACI contributes some very important benefits to the future of complementary healthcare in Australia and globally. PRACI enables clinicians to directly and personally contribute to the creation of new knowledge and advancement of clinical insights within their profession. It also makes it easier for researchers looking to commit to more substantial complementary medicine research by facilitating recruitment of participants. PRACI also helps create a like-minded community of peers for complementary healthcare practitioners. Most importantly, PRACI has the ability to improve the quality of care provided to patients.

Q. What will happen to the data collected from the baseline survey?

The results of the baseline members survey are collated and held on a secure password protected server which is only accessible by PRACI administration. PRACI members will be allocated a member identification code (MIC) and their survey responses will be added to the database under their MIC. A separate and distinct database stores each participant’s name and contact details with their corresponding MIC. Personal information will not be available to individuals outside PRACI administration.

Q. How are details of PRACI database members protected?

Researchers wishing to contact PRACI members to recruit for a research project need to submit an Expression of Interest which will be reviewed by the PRACI Steering Committee. Each submission must identify the characteristics of the participants they would like to recruit. Following approval by the Steering Committee, members will then be contacted directly by the PRACI administrative team with the recruitment information for the project. PRACI members interested in participating will then be free to respond to the researcher at their own discretion. Individual contact details or any other identifiable information will not be provided to external researchers without the express permission of each member.

Q. Which complementary healthcare fields are included in PRACI?

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Bowen therapy
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Kinesiology
  • Musculoskeletal therapy/Myotherapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Reflexology
  • Western herbal medicine
  • Yoga

Q. Where can I learn more about Practice-Based Research Networks?

Between 2000 and 2005, AHRQ funded four major competitive grant programs directed at PBRNs. In addition to funding opportunities, AHRQ is supporting PBRNs through a national resource center, an annual national conference, peer learning groups, an electronic PBRN research repository, and a dedicated community extranet. To learn more about AHRQ’s interest and support of practice based research networks, visit:

A supplement to the Annals of Family Medicine in July 2005 was devoted to Practice- Based Research Networks. This issue of the Annals can provide more information and is freely accessible at:

A more recent paper can provide further information by Green LA, Hickner J. A Short history of Primary Care Practice-based Research Networks: From Concept to Essential Research Laboratories. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2006; 19(1): 1-10. Article freely accessible at:

Q. How can I become part of the PRACI PBRN?

Clinicians interested in becoming part of PRACI can join annually when we open our database up for new members. You will be asked to complete a baseline survey which will allow your details to be added to the password protected PRACI database. As a PRACI member you will be contacted regarding any research projects relevant to your practice so you have an opportunity to choose to participate. You will also receive a PRACI newsletter to inform you of the research being conducted and published through PRACI.

Q. What will happen if I choose to become part of the PRACI PBRN?

Once agreeing to be apart of PRACI, your details will be entered into the password protected PRACI PBRN and your baseline data responses will be stored to start mapping CM workforce for each modality. This will be built upon through further research and you will receive a PRACI newsletter to inform you of the research use PRACI is being put to.

Q. I am a researcher. Can I utilise the PRACI database?

Absolutely. PRACI is designed with the overarching purpose to facilitate collaboration between researchers and practitioners. An Expression of Interest process has been designed which facilitates using PRACI to conduct high quality complementary healthcare research whilst ensuring clinicians within the network are not overburdened and their confidentiality is maintained. Expression of Interest submissions are encouraged from clinicians, researchers, potential funders and others. More information about the EOI process is outlined here.

Scroll down for related documents and information - under For Researchers

Q. Can I earn CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points for involvement in PRACI?

Most professional associations allocate CPD points towards practitioner involvement in professional research. The number of points varies with each association. PRACI gives its members terrific opportunities to earn CPD points for involvement in sub-studies to assist them to maintain and enhance currency in theoretical knowledge and professional skills.

CPD Points

PRACI gives its members terrific opportunities to earn CPD points for involvement in sub-studies.
Professional Association CPD points for PRACI membership
Massage & Myotherapy Australia 15 points per sub-study
10 points for being a member of PRACI
40 points for Conducting a Research Project
Reflexology Association of Australia 1 point per hour (max of 10 points) for sub-study
National Herbalists Association of Australia 1 point per 6 hours for sub-study
Australian Traditional Medicine Society 1 point per 2 hours (max of 8 points) for sub-study
Complementary Medicine Association 1 point per hour (max of 10 points) for sub-study
Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association 1 point per hour for sub-study
Australian Institute of Kinesiologists 1 point per hour (max 5 points) for sub-study
Australasian Association of Ayurveda 1 point per hour (max 10 points) for sub-study
10 points for Conducting a Research Project
Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association 1 point per hour for sub-study
Australian Register of Homoeopaths 1 point per hour for sub-study
Bowen Association Australia 1 point per hour for sub-study (Category 2)

If your professional association is not on this list, please contact them directly to enquire as to how many CPD points you will earn.

For Researchers

PRACI is designed with the overarching purpose to facilitate collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

An Expression of Interest process has been designed which facilitates using PRACI to conduct high quality complementary healthcare research whilst ensuring clinicians within the network are not overburdened and their confidentiality is maintained. Expression of Interest submissions are encouraged from clinicians, researchers, potential funders and others.

Related documents and information:

PRACI PUBLICATIONS

Here are a list of publications that have been developed as a result of the PRACI project so far:

STUDIES BEING CONDUCTED THROUGH PRACI

Currently there are 10 sub-studies running through PRACI:

1. Examining complementary medicine practitioners’ approaches to weight loss - Dr Romy Lauche, Dr Jon Adams, Dr Wenbo Peng, Dr Jon Wardle, Dr Nicholas Fuller, Ms Tess Dingle (University of Technology Sydney)

2. Investigation into complementary medicine practitioners’ clinical experience of intestinal permeability – Mr Bradley Leech, Dr Janet Schloss, Dr Amie Steel (Endeavour College of Natural Health)

3. Herbal Medicine and the treatment of cyclic perimenstrual pain and discomfort - Ms Carole Fisher, Prof David Sibbritt, Prof Jon Adams, Dr Louise Hickman (University of Technology Sydney)

4. Comparative effectiveness study of the clinical and cost outcomes on massage for the management of chronic low back pain in Australia - Dr Amie Steel, Prof Jon Adams, Dr Janet Schloss, Ms Tess Dingle (University of Technology Sydney)

5. The practice of yoga in Australia: A workforce study - Dr Sridhar Maddela, Prof David Sibbritt,, Prof Jon Adams, Dr Jane Frawley (University of Technology Sydney)

6. An exploration of Complementary and Alternative Medicine use for the management of acute respiratory tract infections in children - Ms Sandra Lucas, Dr Saravana Kumar, Dr Matthew Leach (University of South Australia)

7. Medical conditions and symptoms presenting to practitioner of Complementary Medicine in Australia. A snapshot across CM modalities - Dr Michael Watson & Dr Andrea Bugarcic, Ms Jenny Yeeles, Dr Manisha Thakkar, Mrs Tirtha Goradia (Endeavour College of Natural Health)

8. Treating people with arthritis in traditional Chinese medicine: an examination of the perceptions of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners - Miss Lu Yang, Prof Jon Adams, Prof David Sibbritt (University of Technology Sydney)

9. The rationale, practices and knowledge of Australian naturopaths, Western herbal medicine practitioners and nutritionists associated with recommending gluten free diets: A national survey - Dr Joanna Harnett, Dr Erica McIntyre, Dr Catherine Rickwood, Dr Claudine Van De Venter (The University of Sydney)

10. Exploring the contribution made by Australian Naturopaths to the management of individuals with cardiovascular disease and/or known CVD risk factors - Dr Joanna Harnett, Dr Ryan Bradley, Dr Catherine Rickwood (The University of Sydney)

Collaborators

PRACI is an ever-expanding project. These are the collaborators to date:
Amie Steel

Dr Amie Steel

Associate Director Research at Endeavour College of Natural Health

Amie Steel is a naturopath, educator and researcher in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.
Over the last 18 years, Amie has worked in a variety of areas in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) including clinical practice, health promotion, product development and sales, CAM practitioner education, and research.

Amie was involved in CAM practitioner education at the Australian College of Natural Medicine (now Endeavour College of Natural Health) where, prior to her current role, she worked for 14 years delivering a number of courses in naturopathic nutritional management, clinical supervision, and naturopathic philosophy.

View Amie's full profile here

Jon Adams

Professor Jon Adams

Director of Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM)

Jon is Professor of Public Health and Director of the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM) at the Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney.

Jon is also National Convenor of the Public Health Association of Australia Special Interest Group in Evidence, Research and Policy in Complementary Medicine. Jon currently holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2011-2014) in CAM and women's health. Jon was recently awarded an ARC Professorial Future Fellowship (2014).

View Jon's full profile here

Helene Diezel

Helene Diezel

Senior Research Assistant of the Office of Research

Helene Diezel is a social scientist, educator and researcher in the field of health.

Over the last 7 years, Helene has worked in a variety of health areas including political advocacy and activism, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) familiarisation, product development and sales, community education, and research.

Helene was involved in public health research at the University of Queensland Centre Clinical Research prior to her current role and she has worked for 5 years educating young people, health professionals, families and communities both in below benchmark, indigenous, refugee and rural settings as well as abroad.

View Helene's full profile here

PRACI is also led by an expert steering committee:

Amie Steel

Dr Amie Steel (Chair)

Associate Director Research, Endeavour College of Natural Health / Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARCCIM

Jon Adams

Prof. Jon Adams

Professor of Public Health, Faculty of Health, UTS / Director, ARCCIM

Matthew Leach

Dr Matthew Leach

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia

 

David Sibbritt

Prof. David Sibbritt

Professor of Epidemiology, UTS / Deputy Director, ARCCIM

Jon Wardle

Dr Jon Wardle

Lecturer Faculty of Health, UTS / Core Member, ARCCIM

Helene Diezel

Ms Helene Diezel

Senior Lecturer, Endeavour College of Natural Health

Tricia Hughes

Ms Tricia Hughes

Chief Executive Officer, Massage & Myotherapy Australia

Mr. Rod Martin

Mr Roderick Martin

Chief Executive Officer, Go2 Human Performance / Registered Acupuncturist / Practitioner Board Member, CMBA

Dr. Janet Schloss

Dr Janet Schloss

Research Officer Surveys & Statistics, Endeavour College of Natural Health


EXPERT ADVISORY GROUPS

Four collaborating working groups have also been formed to provide expert advice to the Steering Committee where needed. Expert Advisory Group members are as follows:


Traditional Chinese Medicine: Dr Amie Steel, Dr Jon Wardle, Patricia Reynolds, Debra Godson and Adele Bishop

Ingestive Medicines: Dr Matthew Leach, Dr Janet Schloss, Dr Amie Steel, Dr Jane Frawley, Greg Cope and Alastair Gray

Manual Therapies: Tricia Hughes, Prof. Jon Adams, Dr Amie Steel, Helene Diezel and Sarah Robinson

Yoga: Prof. David Sibbritt, Prof. Jon Adams, Dr Matthew Leach, Tanya Quod, Dr Amie Steel and Dr Romy Lauche

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Key Support Partners

PRACI is proud to partner with the following organisations:

Massage & Myotherapy Australia   Complementary Medicines Australia   Australian Homeopathic Association
Metagenics         Bioceuticals