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About me

I trained as a family doctor, and later in osteopathic medicine and as a musculoskeletal physician. From 1990 until 2005 I directed the highly innovative complementary therapies development programme at Marylebone Health Centre (MHC), a ground-breaking Central London NHS GP unit set up in 1986 to explore new approaches to inner city primary healthcare.

I was one of the founding faculty of the University of Westminster's School of Integrated Health which merged with the Department of Bioscience in 2009 to form the School of Life Sciences where I am now Professor of Integrated Healthcare and Clinical Director.

I have co-authored or edited five books* about complementary therapies, and have led on a series of research projects implementing or evaluating complementary medicine in mainstream settings. One recent project developed community access to acupuncture and stress reduction for people with long-term low back pain. A current project is evaluating the use of acupuncture alongside counselling for men in distress. I was until 2010 Chair of the British Holistic Medical Association - an open association of practitioners working to develop holistic healthcare (bhma.org) - whose Journal of Holistic Healthcare I edit. I was until 2013 a founding director of the recently formed College of Medicine whose aim is to encourage more patient-centred and values-based approaches in healthcare.

My clinical work as a musculo-skeletal physician has been greatly enriched by osteopathy and acupuncture, and by the somatically-oriented psychotherapeutic methods devised by Peter Levine, as well as by my own exploration of working with the relaxation response, yoga and meditation. A particular clinical interest is in dysregulatory syndromes where pain and/or fatigue often overlap, and in the autonomic imbalance and breathing pattern disorders I have seen so frequently associated with them. I am now directing a new cross-university initiative - the Westminster Centre for Resilience.

Research

Grants 1999-2001 Developing/evaluating a CT service in NHS GP (With P Pietroni) Smith's Charity: £190,000 1997-99) 

Sept 1999-2000 Analysis of medicinal herbs (w Prof C Evans) (UoW seed funding £25000) 

Oct 1999-2001 Pilot study of herbal medicines: growing and processing (Billingsgate Trust £10000 over 2 years) 

July 2000- Use of CTs by London PCGs (Kings Fund £33000 over 12 months) 

July 2000- Developing links with medical schools (Quintin Hogg £7500 over 12 months) 

Aug 2000-1 Developing NHS clinical placements (Dept of Ed £15000 over 12 months)

Oct 2000- 1 St Johns Wort & salivary cortisol pilot RCT (With Angela Clow and Julie Whitehouse) (Billingsgate Trust £3000) 

Nov 2000-2 Nutraceuticals adverse events database (DTI KTP £196,000 over 2 years)

Jan 2001- 3 Developing a CT clinical governance network (Dept of Health £35000 over 12 months) 

Aug 2001-3 Developing NHS clinical placements (Dept of Ed £25000 over 12 months) 

July 2002-4 Consolidating links with the NHS (Quintin Hogg Trust £31,800 over 2 years) 

July 2002-3 Consolidating NHS clinical placements (Dept of Ed - £10000 over 12 months) 

Sept 2002-3 Consolidating a CT clinical governance network (Dept of Health £26000 over 12 months) 

Sept 2002-3 Consolidating a CT clinical governance network (Kings Fund £26000 over 12 months) 

Mar 2003-4 Developing an online pilot care pathway: back pain (Dept of Health £30000) 

Jan 2004-5 Consolidating consensus on clinical governance of CAM ((Dept of Health £30000) 

Aug 2005-6 Developing clinical placements (HEIFE 2 £10,000) 

Mar 2007-8 Developing the mid-life 'LifeCheck' instrument (With Phil Evans, Angela Clow) (DoH £47,000) 

Jan 2008-10 Developing selfcare information to include CT & mind-body medicine (£90k Culm Valley Plus) 

Jan 2009-10 Developing a CT MSK service 1 (with Damien Ridge) (£90, 000 over 12 months funded by independent charity) 

October 2010 Developing a CT MSK service 2 (with Damien Ridge) £263,490 15 months. Kensington & Chelsea PCT) 

August 2012 Developing a CT service for men's distress 1 (with Damien Ridge) (£140,000 15 months. Nelsons Charity) 

Recent R&D 

2009- The online SelfCare Library http://selfcare-library.info for evidence-based information about non-pharmaceutical options for self-care in a range of common long-term conditions.

2010-12 A Central London PCT-wide access to acupuncture and stress reduction for long-term low back pain. 

2013-14 Use of acupuncture alongside counselling for men in distress. 

2012 - Developing Westminster Centre for Resilience a cross-university initiative involving Faculty of Science and Business School - assessing psycho-physiology of resilience and ways of building resilience for individuals, teams and organisations. 

My R&D work is evolving in three interlinked areas:

  • developing funded pilot projects to explore the feasibility of using non-pharmaceutical treatments in NHS settings.
  • self-care in long term conditions (for which we have been funded to create and deliver evidence-based information)
  • the psycho-physiology of resilience and the development of interventions to support resilience and recovery.

Professional body membership 

General Medical Council (Reg no GMC 1525232) 

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

British Medical Association 

British Medical Acupuncture Society 

British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine 

General Osteopathic Council (Reg no. 1003) 

Appointments 2000-13 

2004- Editor, Journal of Holistic Healthcare 

2000-5 Editorial Board NHS Direct Healthcare Guide (Doctor-Patient Partnership-BMA) Developing content for NHS on-line Guide, including complementary therapy information 

2000-3 Director: Herbs at Highgrove Project 

2000-5 Royal College of General Practitioners Advisory Group on Complementary Therapies National group of twelve advisors to develop RCGP guidelines for GPs 

2001-10 Royal College of Physicians Complementary Therapies Committee 

2001-3 Consultant: the Boots Company: developing wellbeing assessment and intervention strategies 

2002- Editorial Advisory Board: Journal of Complementary Therapies (USA) 

2002- 10 Editorial Board: British Homeopathic journal 

2002 -7 Advisory Board and Selection Committee: NHS Executive subcommittee for creating capacity in complementary therapies research 

2002 -10 Editorial Advisory Board: Complementary Therapies in Medicine (Churchill-Livingstone, Edinburgh) 

2002-5 Steering group: national collaborative for CT integration. Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health 

2002-4 Consultant: Boots Company. Wellbeing 2002 Project. Wellbeing 2003 Project. 

2003-10 Chair: British Holistic Medical Association 

2003-6 Member of Board of Trustees, Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Healthcare. 

2004- Editor, Journal of Holistic Healthcare 

2006-9 Editorial Board: NHS Evidence - complementary and alternative medicine formerly National Electronic Library for Health (Complementary Medicine) 

2006- Reviewer: proposals to National Institute for Health Research 

2006- Reviewer: proposals to Cancer Research UK 

2006- Member, Breakthrough Breast Cancer Clinical Experts Reference Group 

2007-8 Consultant: Tesco Board of Directors Wellbeing initiative 

2007-9 Associate Director: University of Westminster Institute of Health and Wellbeing Programme 

2007- Expert external assessor: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Australian Government's Complementary and Alternative Medicine programme of research. 

2008-10 Fellow and Member of Clinical Advisory Board of the Princes Foundation for Integrated Health 

2009-13 Board of Directors' College of Medicine

Publications

For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.