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Third International Conference on Holistic Medicine
ICHM - 2012

Programme (Speakers)

Opening Guest

Ms. Rita O'Sullivan

Country Director, Sri Lanka Resident Mission (SLRM)

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Ms. Rita O'Sullivan, ADB's Country Director oversees ADB's public and private sector operations in Sri Lanka. A lawyer by profession, she has been working at ADB for over 14 years specializing in financial sector development, advising and supporting the design and implementation of financial sector reforms and enhancing policies and strategies. For the last 10 years, she has also been responsible for coordinating ADB's anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and related trade security operations across the Asia Pacific region. She represents ADB at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and regional FATF styled bodies' meetings as well as at international and regional for training workshops.

Also an economist, Ms O'Sullivan joined ADB as a Capital Markets Specialist. Prior to that she held positions as Vice President, Risk Management with National Securities Clearing Corporation in New York - covering settlement of equity securities, and Sovereign, Municipal and Brady Bonds; Manager and General Counsel at the Securities Exchanges Guarantee Corporation Ltd - a subsidiary of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney; and positions with the Australian Federal Attorney-General's Office; the Papua New Guinea's (PNG) State Solicitor's Office; and Australian and PNG law firms.

Ms O'Sullivan holds degrees in Arts, Economics, and Laws, and a Masters of Laws from the University of Queensland, Australia, as well as Graduate Diplomas in: Applied Finance and Investment, Securities Institute of Australia (SIA); International Capital Markets and Loans, International Bar Association; Certificates for Management Development, Australian Institute of Management; and Derivatives Market Training for International Market Authorities, USA.

She is a Barrister and Solicitor, High Court of Australia, Solicitor, Supreme Courts of ACT, Qld, NSW in Australia; a Lawyer, National Court of Justice, PNG, Associate Member of SIA; Certified Mediator; and Certified FATF Assessor.

Keynote Speaker 1

Prof Acram Taji

Internationalisation -

my perspective on becoming part of the global workforce

One of the most important functions of universities in the 21st century is to prepare students for productive and responsible global citizenship, enabling the graduates to live and work effectively across international borders. Today’s graduates must possess intercultural skills and competencies to help them succeed in this globalised world, and higher education institutions are best placed to help students achieve these outcomes. Internationalisation refers to the efforts of institutions to meet this imperative by incorporating global perspectives into all aspects of academic work, including learning, teaching and research, instilling international and intercultural competencies in students and staff, and establishing productive relationships and collaborations with institutions across the globe. Although internationalisation has been part of the higher education discourse for decades, the circumstances and demands of the current era require a deeper commitment on the part of institutions with a comprehensive range of actions. At their core, higher education institutions are about students’ learning. Therefore careful planning and sustained commitment of resources is fundamental to their successful internationalisation agenda. Internationalisation is a coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate international policies, programs, and initiatives with curriculum development, helping to position higher education institutions as more globally-orientated and internationally connected. This process requires commitment by institutional leaders in supporting and influencing the curriculum and a broad range of people, policies, and programs, permeating all levels of the institution. In this lecture, key aspects of internationalisation, with examples of the type of initiatives that have been successful in institutions across the globe, will be discussed.

Speaker's Biography: Professor Acram Taji holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (University Medal) from the University of Tehran in Iran, Graduate Diploma in Horticultural Science from the University of Sydney, PhD in Crop Physiology from Flinders University in Australia and a Certificate in Higher Education from Harvard. She has taught in a number of universities in Australia, in the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, Osaka Prefecture and Meiji Universities in Japan, University of California-Davis, the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, and University of British Columbia in Canada. She has supervised to successful completion the theses of 47 Masters and PhD students from 15 countries. Acram has been the recipient of 16 distinguished national and international awards including the award of "The Lecturer of The Year" in the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, Japanese Prime Minister Senior Fellowship for Foreign Specialists, Australian Award for University Teaching, the Australian Society of Plant Physiologists' Prize, the Australian College of Educators Quality Teaching Award, University of New England's Supervisor of the Year, the International Association for Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology, Flinders University's Distinguished Alumni award in recognition of her endeavours in promotion of science in the developing countries, the Iranian government highest Science and Technology award, and the International Society for Horticultural Science's Medal. Acram is the author of over 200 articles and the author or editor of 8 books and a DVD, mostly in the area of plant biotechnology. Acram is a highly experienced educator who is passionate about good educational experience for students. Her philosophy underpins her teaching and research. She believes that education is not just about job skills but about teaching people to be good global citizens, is about building cohesive societies and is about caring for the environment and for each other. In recent years she has been travelling around the world and giving plenary/keynote lectures at conferences as an agricultural crusader, bringing to the attention of audiences the challenges faced by agriculture and asserting that future wars will not be based on ideology but wars will be over resources such as food and water.

Keynote Speaker 2

Prof Wasantha Gunathunga

Meditation - an unchartered research tool with multidisciplinary clinical and behavioural applications

Functions and capabilities of mind and its application in clinical practice are hitherto minimally explored in the modern scientific world. Discovered millennia ago the essence of key methods of meditation were lost in the path of history. Recent re-discovery of methods such as vipassana meditation allows the practitioner to see the interplay between the body, mind and consciousness, opening up new understanding on how the mind works. The results of meditation related research show promising application possibilities in many new disciplines.

Recent work has shown opportunity of imparting a unique skill to medical practitioners of diagnosing and treating psychological, somatic, psycho-somatic and lifestyle problems. I make this opportunity to introduce this new and unique skill, meta-cognitive psychoanalysis. It will equip medical practitioners and other interested people with an added capability in clinical practice and has the potential to be developed into a new sub-discipline. Meta-cognitive psychoanalysis is scientific, experiential and mentally observable and makes the practitioner capable of certain metaphysical skills that can be applied in clinical practice. This additional skill can be used by the practitioner to help patients or can be transferred to the patient for therapeutic purposes. Areas showing application include management of chronic pain such as in rheumatoid arthritis, in psychology, reducing resistance to lifestyle modification, prevention and management of diabetes, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases to name a few. These metaphysical skills will also shed light on making well informed end of life decisions in situations such as euthanasia, do not resuscitate decisions (DNR), removing life support in terminally ill patients and removing organs for transplant.

Another application of meditation includes transforming individuals to have favourable skills such as those of anger management, improving concentration and tolerance etcetera that can be applicable in business, work place, schools and in driving vehicles etc.

All these applications are made possible through a new branch in research called the "Noble Research" which is positioned even above the branching out of research methodology cascade into observational and experimental research.

I sincerely hope that interested clinicians and scientists would explore this challenging prospect of science.

Speaker's Biography: Professor Wasantha Gunathunga graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo in 1989 with MBBS and obtained his Masters in Community Medicine in 1993 and MD in Community Medicine in 1998. He worked as a visiting research fellow in the Department of General Practice of the University of Western Australia in 1998-99 and is presently attached to the Department of Community Medicine, University of Colombo.

He was a former Head of the Department of Community Medicine, former chairman of the Behavioral Sciences Stream of the undergraduate curriculum and the Senior Student Counsellor of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. He has been a course unit adviser on Mental Health and Personal and Professional Development in the M.Sc. In Community Medicine program in the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine of the University of Colombo. Professor Gunathunga has supervised more than twenty masters' theses and five doctoral theses. There are more than forty research papers and journal articles to his credit.

His main research interests are exploring mind and consciousness and in Mental Health. He has undergone profound training in various meditation methods over the past decade and has published a book titled "Perfect Mental Health" through his experience in meditation. He has successfully attempted to apply skills gained through meditation into clinical practice and to develop a sub-discipline he named "Meta-cognitive Psychoanalysis". His quest for realizing perfect mental health is continuing.

Keynote Speaker 3

Dr Isaac Golden

Immunisation Options in Endemic and Epidemic Conditions
Vaccination provides a significant level of protection against some diseases, with low effectiveness against others and lowered effectiveness when there are changes in the strains of circulating antigens of any disease. Its short-term safety has been quantified, but studies of long-term safety are incomplete. Homœoprophylaxis claims a similar level of effectiveness as vaccination with significantly less risk of short or long-term adverse events. A limited comparative cost-benefit analysis of the two immunisation options is presented, but demonstrates that more quantitative research is needed to reach definitive conclusions. The analysis suggests that such research is warranted as significant potential net public health benefits may be identified.

Speaker's Biography: Dr Isaac Golden has been a homoeopathic practitioner since 1984, and teaching since 1988. He founded the Australasian College of Hahnemannian Homoeopathy in 1990, which offers distance education courses in homoeopathic and natural medicine. Isaac is a regular contributor to local and international academic journals, and is the author of eleven books on homoeopathy. He is a world authority on homoeoprophylaxis - the use of homoeopathic medicines for specific infectious disease prevention - and was the first person to be awarded a PhD from a mainstream Australian University for research on a homoeopathic topic. In March 1999 he was awarded the Association’s Distinguished Service Award for his “many years of service to the Australian Homoeopathic Association and for his significant contributions to the homoeopathic profession in Australia”.

Keynote Speaker 4

Dr Senaka Pilapitiya

Importance of understanding CAM fundamentals when planning CAM research

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) research is gaining popularity world over. Many places where only conventional medicine (Allopathic) was practiced, have started to explore CAM systems as a means of finding solutions or as complementing aids to fill the gaps  in health care provision and patient care. CAM research is also done to establish their safety and to look for evidence of efficacy, as they are widely practiced in some communities.

CAM research poses several challenges to researchers. One such challenge is the difficulty of applying standard methodologies to test CAM practices and therapies. CAM systems, especially the ones that had originated in the South and Southeast Asian region are based upon strong fundamental theories. These fundamentals make them contrastingly different in the way in which they approach a particular health problem from that of the conventional medicine. When research is planned in CAM, incommensurability of fundamentals of these sciences with conventional medicine needs to be appreciated. This incommensurability also makes it necessary to adopt methodologies that would fit their fundamental concepts which may not be within the standard framework acceptable to conventional medicine.

This issue can be dealt effectively only if the researchers can appreciate the fundamental theories of CAMs and innovate reasonable ways by which they can be met, while conforming to acceptable and logical research methodologies. In order to accomplish these researchers should have a sound knowledge on their fundamentals.

It should be realized that realistic outcomes of CAM research can be expected only if the study is planned in acceptance to their own fundamentals. Two common examples would be the need to understand the ‘patient individualized treatment model’ and the ‘holistic approach needed to follow in dealing with a disease state’.

When CAM fundamentals are to be respected within study designing it becomes impossible to apply some standard well accepted study models. A good example is the difficulty of planning a randomized controlled trial to study the efficacy of a CAM intervention in relation to a particular disease condition. Not only the methodology but at times even the outcome measures may have to be adjusted to suit the fundamentals of CAMs.

Failing to appreciate this aspect has led to many failures in CAM research. This has led to lack of evidence on significant benefits of many CAM treatments and practices, contrary to the common belief and experience of effective CAM remedies.

Lack of understanding of CAM fundamentals and not knowing how to incorporate them in clinical research designing, has led many CAM researchers to confine themselves to conduct basic research. This has created a vacuum of high quality clinical research in CAM. Scarcity of evidence from clinical research in CAM has denied its due recognition as an effective means of addressing important health problems.

Speaker's Biography: Dr. Senaka Pilapitiya holds a MBBS from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, and a MD in Medicine and a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education from the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo. He has a Diploma in Ayurveda from the Ayurveda Hospital and Education Board of the Department of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka, and practice Ayurveda with registration in Sri Lanka Ayurveda Medical Council.

Dr. Pilapitiya is currently a lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka and works as a Physician in the Medicine Professorial Unit, Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura. He is a visiting lecturer at Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Institute, University of Kelaniya and is also a member of its Board of Study. He also provides his services as a resource person to the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and consultancy to the Ayurveda Community Health Care Programme of the Anuradhapura district.

He has functioned as an Institutional and a Subject reviewer of Ayurveda Educational Institutes, has reviewed several postgraduate courses in Ayurveda including the MD programme in Indigenous Medicine; appointed by the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council and the Standing Committee on Indigenous Medicine of University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka.

Dr. Pilapitiya is the Founder director of the Centre for Education and Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERCAM) at the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences; the first such centre on CAM established in a Medical Faculty in Sri Lanka. He is also a student counsellor, a member of the Ethics Review Committee and Higher Degrees Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences.

He is involved in CAM related research and is working with a quest towards developing a scientific approach for Integrated Medicine.