World Health Organization Evidence Review of Traditional Medicine Research Methods (2023-2024)

In partnership with Health Research Group (Australia), Carleton University’s TCIM Lab has been contracted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to carry out an evidence review about epistemology (paradigm)-sensitive research methods in Traditional Medicine (TM). The review aims to:

  • Summarise the scholarly literature on research methods, methodologies, frameworks, and strategies applied in TM research, with an emphasis on issues of epistemology (i.e., diverse knowledge and paradigms/ways of knowing).
  • Explore, characterise, and critically analyse the enablers and barriers for conducting and applying epistemology-sensitive research, including synthetic methods, in TM.
  • Engage with key stakeholders and knowledge users across all global regions to inform the development of epistemology-sensitive methods for research and evidence synthesis in TM.

The review is in response to increasing public and political pressure for TM to align with the biomedical evidence-based approach that is widely applied in other areas of health and medicine. However, research methods must also be appropriate for the interventions being studied. TM is often underpinned by traditional/Indigenous knowledges (epistemologies/paradigms) that differ in key ways from biomedicine. As such, biomedical research methods, which are rooted in biomedical epistemologies, are not always optimally suited to studying TM.

WHO Evidence Review Stakeholder Input Portal

Governing Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) Practitioners Across Sub-Saharan Africa: A Pilot Study (2023-2025)

This project, funded by an International Seed Grant from Carleton University, aims to:

  1. Broadly map the terrain of T&CM practitioner governance across sub-Saharan Africa;
  2. Use a case study approach to pilot an in-depth methodology for critically analyzing the implementation successes and challenges associated with particular T&CM practitioner governance approaches across the region; and, on this basis,
  3. Develop a research and funding strategy to undertake a critical analysis of T&CM practitioner governance across the sub-Saharan Africa region.

This project involves a multilateral collaboration between Carleton’s TCIM Lab (Canada) and scholars at the African Population and Health Research Center (Kenya), Southern Cross University (Australia), the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (USA), and an independent scholar (Tanzania) who was formerly the Regional Advisor for Traditional Medicine with the World Health Organization’s Africa Office.

Integrative Medicine in North America: Paradigm Shift or New Physician Speciality? (2021-2026)

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, our current study takes a health systems approach to investigate the multi-faceted ‘integrative medicine’ phenomenon in Canada and the United States. The project includes several sub-studies in progress, outlined below:

  • Government Policies Related to Traditional and Complementary Medicine Practitioners in Canada and the United States: An Environmental Scan
  • Integrative Medical Doctors in North America: A Workforce Survey
  • Policies Governing the Use of Unconventional Therapies by Canadian Medical Doctors: A Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Integrative Medical Doctors in Ontario: A Qualitative Study
  • Integrative, Complementary, and Traditional/Indigenous Therapeutic Approaches in Outpatient ‘Safety Net’ Settings in the United States: A Survey-Based Study
  • Equitable Access to Licensed Naturopathic Care in the United States: A Qualitative Study
  • Non-Statutory Governance of Unconventional Therapeutic Systems in Quebec: Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, and Massage Therapy: A Qualitative Study
  • Safe Harbor, Legal Gray Area, or Illicit Practice? The Experiences of Unlicensed Health Care Practitioners in North America: A Qualitative Study
  • Internationally-Trained Healthcare Professionals and the Practice of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in Canada: A Qualitative Study
Statutory Regulation & Emerging Traditional/Complementary Health Professions (2017-2021)

More information coming.