Interprofessional Health Dynamics
A Proposal To Establish A Program to Facilitate Clinical Implementation of Traditional Medicine
The proposed project includes two components to facilitate the clinical implementation of traditional medicine. These components are (i) a program to provide hands-on training in the most recent technologies to new traditional medicine researchers and (ii) a program to facilitate the publication and dissemination of traditional medicine research. To summarize these two briefly :
The first component of this project is the establishment of a research training laboratory dedicated to basic scientific and clinical studies in traditional medicine. The objective is to provide an entre into research for established traditional medicine practitioners and aspiring researchers (especially from poorer Asian countries) who would not otherwise have access to equipment and mentoring. By joining the ongoing workshops already in place at the Shanghai Research Center for Acupuncture and Meridian, and through training in the proposed laboratory, these persons will have the opportunity to develop their skills in research design and performance so that they will then be able to go on and seek their own funding for future projects. Thus, this program will have a double impact – it will result directly in the on-site performance of research, and it will spawn a new community of traditional medicine researchers.
The second component of this project addresses two important barriers to the clinical implementation of the results of traditional medicine : dissemination to, and comprehension of implications of traditional medicine research by target stakeholders. Within modern western medicine, there is the specialist field of medical informatics which collates, synthesizes and disseminates information concerning medical practice. Medical informatics has prescribed guidelines for publishing, and rules of evidence which, if followed, ensure the credibility and facilitate the implementation of research findings. Thus, the second component of this project establishes a centre for traditional medicine informatics at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres in Canada (a provincially funded public university). The centre will include a computer system for gathering and analysing the traditional medicine literature, and an internet-based system which will make traditional medicine knowledge available in English to the international community. The system will also include Chinese translations of internationally accepted guidelines for research and publishing, and will provide web-based self-directed learning modules for research design and publishing. Additionally, there will be a computer-searchable archive of exemplars of biomedical English usage relevant to traditional medicine. Hence, English speaking stakeholders will have enhanced access to traditional medicine knowledge previously available only in Chinese, and Chinese speaking stakeholders (as well as other non-native English speakers) will have access to resources which will enhance their ability to publish research in English. It should be noted that Chinese is the most widely spoken and written first language in the world, and yet has been relatively under-serviced with respect to medical informatics. It should also be understood that Chinese is the lingua franca of traditional medicine within Asia, and that Chinese language texts and learning resources are, for lack of alternatives, quite widely used even in English speaking countries.