Conference to examine nutritional supplements, medicinal herbs for managing health problems

March 20, 2000

CHAPEL HILL -- Doctors, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants and pharmacists who need to understand the origins and effects of herbal and nutritional supplements will make up the audience March 24-26 as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosts a national conference on those subjects.

The second annual "Clinical Relevance of Medicinal Herbs and Nutritional Supplements in the Management of Major Medical Problems" meeting will be held at the William & Ida Friday Continuing Education Center and include speakers in demand throughout the United States.

"This evidence-based conference will look at how various diseases and conditions prevalent in our society are treated with herbs and supplements," said Dr. Susan Gaylord, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, who helped organize the event. "It will feature well-known M.D.s as well as naturopathic physicians who will talk about how experienced practitioners use these herbs in ways that are safe and hopefully effective. Following presentations on herbal and dietary treatments, responses from expert practitioners in conventional medicine will create an opportunity for dialogue."

Organizers are not advocating herbal and other therapies as alternatives to mainstream medicine, Gaylord said, but want to inform health providers about them. About 80 percent of the world's population still use herbal medicine as its chief source of medical treatment. Increasing numbers of U.S. residents take them as well.

"The latest data show that about 40 percent of Americans are now using one or more alternative therapies, and in 1993 North Carolina doctors were permitted to offer them -- as long as they were not shown to be harmful -- without risk of censure or losing their licenses," she said.

The event will complement a UNC-CH conference held three weeks earlier on scientific studies about the safety and effectiveness of medicinal herbs, Gaylord said.

On Friday (March 24) at 9 a.m., Dr. James A. Duke, an ecologist, will speak on "Botanical Medicine: The Amazon Experience." Herbalist Steven Foster of the Steven Foster Group in Fayetteville, Ark., will discuss "The Herbal Industry: Quality Assurance" at 10 a.m.

At 11:15 a.m., workshops will be held on western herbal and traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy for children's illnesses, diet and nutritional supplements for health, herbal preparation and testing and practical issues for patients, pharmacists and clinicians. Speakers include Dr. Z.J. Chen of Carolina Acupuncture and Natural Healing, Dr. Amy Rothenberg of Enfield, Conn., Dr. Susan Delaney of the Wellness Alliance in Carrboro, Dr. Peter Curtis, professor of family medicine at UNC-CH, and June McDermott, clinical assistant professor at the UNC-CH School of Pharmacy.

Curtis, McDermott and Delaney also were conference organizers.

In the afternoon, Dr. Timothy S. Carey, professor of medicine at UNC-CH, will speak on "Evidence-Based Medicine" at 1:30, and Dr. Tori Hudson of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine will discuss "Women's Health Issues - Cervical Dysplasia" at 2:15 and "Menopause" at 3:45. N.C. Herbalist Will Endres will lead an herbal walk at 5:45.

On Saturday, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog of the University of New Mexico will speak on "Cardiovascular Disease" at 8:30 a.m. and "Diabetes and Men's Health Issues" at 10:15 a.m.

Columnists Joe and Dr. Theresa Graedon, who host a nationally syndicated radio show originating at WUNC-FM, will discuss drug, herb and nutritional supplement interactions and adverse reactions at 1 p.m. Dr. Varro Tyler, dean of pharmacy emeritus at Purdue University, will speak on "Laws and Regulations Governing Medicinal Herbs: Their Effect on Current and Future Markets" at 2 p.m. Workshops will follow.

On Sunday at 8:30 a.m., Dr. Keith I. Block, assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and medical director of Block Medical Center in Evanston, Ill., will talk about "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies in Cancer Care Practice and Research." Dr. Timothy C. Birdsall of Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Ill., will discuss "Herbal and Nutritional Supplements in Cancer Treatment" at 10 a.m. Following a question and answer session, Endres will offer another herbal walk.

UNC-CH sponsors of the conference are the integrative medicine program of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the school of medicine as well as the schools of nursing and pharmacy.

Continuing education credit is available for doctors, nurses and pharmacists who attend the event. Registration costs range from $275 to $385. Call Jane Radford at (919) 962-2118 or e-mail her at jane_radford@med.unc.edu for more information.
-end-
Note: Reporters are invited to attend and cover the conference. Contact Dr. Susan Gaylord at (919) 966-8586 or gaylords@med.unc.edu or Radford for details.

Contact: David Williamson, 962-8596.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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