ARCCIM International Research Leadership and Capacity Building Retreat

By Barbara Beacham and Eleanor Oyston

Barbara Beacham and Eleanor Oyston are privileged to be part of the Research Capacity Building Leadership program run by ARCCIM at the University of Technology Sydney. Their selection recognises their expertise in this area by their academic peers. The BTFA sponsored two leadership positions as part of their original partnership agreement with ARCCIM/UTS. The ARCCIM program brings small groups of researcher leaders together and provides professional development opportunities for its these people around mentoring, personal development, and research capacity building in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM).

1.    Summary of results from the residential

Barbara and Eleanor attended the first face to face residential meeting of their program group in Sydney in December in 2022. The residential focussed on enabling members of the group to get to know each other, develop networks, clarify people’s leadership vision, and identify potential collaborative projects and manuscript development opportunities they could work on as a group.

Most of the leaders were employed in academic institutions, e.g. as Professors, Associate Professors or Research Leaders. Barbara and Eleanor are self-employed Bowen Therapy Practitioners with academic qualifications. They are working voluntarily for the BTFA in their Research Capacity Building Leadership roles.

Barbara’s interests are in organisational change and development of the BTFA around implementing research capacity building initiatives, with a view to strengthening organisational and practitioner ability to engage with and develop the research evidence for Bowen Therapy. Eleanor’s interests are in progressing the integration of Oncology Massage and Bowen Therapy in complementary and medical care, both in the community and in acute hospital settings.

After a pause in implementation activity imposed by COVID 19, Barbara and Eleanor are now working to develop their activities. As a result, they propose the following Role Statement, that clarifies what they hope to achieve as Research Capacity Building Leaders.  They also offer several recommendations supporting organisational development (see section 1.2). Which is in line with the suggestions in the 2016 Background Paper written by Barbara Beacham.

1.1 Role Statement – BTFA Research Capacity Development Leaders:

With the endorsement of the BTFA Board, Barbara and Eleanor aim to undertake the following activities:

  1. Progress the publication of the first manuscript based on existing PRACI data (submitted to peer-reviewed journal in late 2022), that provides a snapshot of the professional and practice characteristics of Bowen Therapists in Australia.
  2. Develop at least one additional manuscript for publication based on the second PRACI survey data (collected in 2022 through the practitioner survey).
  3. In collaboration with Fellows from their ARCCIM group, engage in selected research activity, and develop papers for publication in their respective fields of interest. Details of these activities will be advised as they are clarified.
  4. Provide advice and leadership to the BTFA Board around organisational growth supporting continuity of research capacity development into the future
  5. Promote research in the BTFA organisation and practitioner community by:
    1. Informing a strategic approach to organisational research for the BTFA via the Board (see 2016 background paper and recommendations in the next section).
    2. Supporting a BTFA CPE Research Development Coordinator, (if identified)
    3. Supporting the implementation of some simple outcome measures amongst BT practitioners (where there is interest in doing so)
    4. Implementing an approach to Case Report writing for publication that has been adapted for massage therapy and bodywork
    5. Providing feedback, and supporting the development of Case Reports, and potential manuscripts
    6. Facilitating two research capacity building CPE workshops:
      1. State level research capacity building CPE workshop – Adelaide Sunday 21/5/23
      2. National level CPE workshop at BTFA National Conference (date to be advised in 2023)

1.2 Recommendations for BTFA organisational development supporting research

Building research capacity is a long-term goal and ongoing commitment and effort at an organisational level is essential to achieving outcomes. The appointment of Barbara and Eleanor to the leadership roles is an important first step, however, will not be sufficient without organisational development supporting sustainable effort and growth into the future; particularly as they are working voluntarily.

In the interests of supporting the BTFA to achieve some organisational growth in this area,  Barbara and Eleanor recommend to the BTFA Board the following:

Recommendation 1Supporting ongoing links with an academic institute.

Maintain a research leadership and development partnership with ARCCIM.  This may be undertaken simply by ongoing sponsorship with ARCCIM International Program. A total of $30,000 over 3 years for two leaders – (i.e., an investment of $5,000 per individual each year over each 3 year cycle.

Recommendation 2Supporting organisational engagement in developing member’s research knowledge

Identify a BTFA Research Capacity Development CPE Coordinator(s ) to work as part of the National CPE Committee (EoI process to be undertaken).  The role of this Coordinator would be to:

  1. Liaise with the BTFA Research Capacity Development Leaders and support implementation of initiatives and recommendations as directed by the BTFA Board.
  2. Promote the value of research through:
    1. Identifying and promoting relevant research articles and resources from the literature
    2. Coordinating an ongoing program of CPE opportunities around research – e.g., organising webinars and workshops on research/research design in CIM/case report writing/writing for publication
    3. Writing newsletter articles about research dev. activity in collaboration with BTFA research leaders.

Recommendation 3Supporting networking, sharing and development with likeminded professional organisations with similar needs and interests

Establish partnerships with other organisations around research – (e.g BAA/Massage & Myotherapy Assoc. Aust.) to share strategies, learnings, and resources.

Recommendation 4 – Supporting consistency in documenting outcomes and therapist’s capacity to publish Case Reports indicating efficacy of Bowen Therapy

Support the proposed initiatives of the Research Capacity Development Leaders to promote the use of simple outcome measures (using some commonly used in massage and bodywork) and engagement in writing of Case Reports that would be suitable for publication (using the adapted guidelines developed for therapeutic massage and bodywork (Munk et al 2014))

Recommendation 5Supporting awareness raising and promotion of Bowen Therapy as a valuable profession in Complementary and Integrated Medicine

Provide a Sponsorship Grant for Conference Presenters on acceptance of an abstract about Bowen Therapy (e.g., $500 per application).


Leave a comment