Dr. Narda Robinson, a recognized expert in scientific and evidence-based alternative medicine, has been named to a position that is the first of its kind to be endowed in the nation in veterinary medicine.
The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences announced in September that Dr. Robinson's Professorship of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is fully endowed. The position focuses on researching complementary medicine for veterinary practice and the application of alternative medicine approaches proven through sound scientific research to help improve the quality of life for animals with a variety of diseases such as cancer.
The position is funded by a $3 million gift given in 2000 by Charles and Lucia Shipley of Auburndale, Mass., with $600,000 of these funds establishing the endowment for the professorship. The Shipleys devoted $1 million of their gift to fund the construction of a wing to house the University's Animal Cancer Center and the Argus Institute. The remaining funds were to be distributed over several years to the scientific study and application of natural treatments to improve the quality of life for animals suffering from a variety of diseases including cancer.
"Dr. Robinson is trained and licensed in osteopathic and veterinary medicine," said Dr. Paul Lunn, head of the Department of Clinical Sciences. "She is now devoting her full-time career to the practice and development of alternative therapies in veterinary medicine, such as acupuncture, and to research that can benefit both humans and animals. Narda is a skilled, dedicated and compassionate clinician and has already demonstrated great leadership in studies of the scientific basis of complementary and alternative healing methods."
The position will expand current services and research in complementary and alternative medicine currently underway at the Veterinary Medical Center such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. Fifty percent of the position will focus on treating animal cancer patients at the hospital and researching alternative medical complements to traditional cancer treatments and pain management. In addition, the position will expand research into the medicinal benefits of plants. Robinson also will work with the College's Center for Pain Management and consult with University neurology veterinarians.
"There is research showing that certain applications of alternative medicine - such as acupuncture and some herbs - are meaningful treatments," said Dr. Robinson. "But, we must be well-informed. Not all alternative and complementary medicine works well, and not all of what's currently being used in humans and animals is safe. Our agenda is to be objective and base recommendations for alternative medicine on science and research."
Dr. Robinson founded the complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, service at Colorado State's Veterinary Medical Center nearly 10 years ago. Since then, the program at the University has grown considerably, pushing forward into areas of research that will upgrade the practice and promote education about science-based alternative medicine among veterinarians. Professional interest in CAM and demand from clients continues to increase, with a marked majority of the University's oncology clients using some form of these services.
Dr. Robinson's current research includes the impact of acupuncture on dogs with dry eye, and she is developing the first, complete, neuroanatomically-accurate system of canine acupuncture point locations. Dr. Robinson is trained and licensed in both human and veterinary medicine, although the main focus of her career recently has been in the veterinary field. In both professional realms, she passionately explores the truth underlying complementary and alternative healing methods to ensure safe and effective practice. She is a board certified physician in medical acupuncture, a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture and a fellow of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.