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Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD is a Professor and the Interim Dean for the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. She currently co-directs IN-CAM (the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research) and is the President of the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research. She served as the Chair of Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Committee for Natural Health Products from 2006-2009. Her primary research interests are the safety and efficacy of natural health products as well as complementary/alternative medicine regulation and policy issues. She is the author of a textbook on natural health products and over 100 academic publications.
Current research projects include:
1. Statutory Regulation and Emerging Health Care Professions: What is the impact on practice?
The health care system in Ontario is undergoing a significant change in the area of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Three CAM practices are in the process of either becoming regulated for the first time (Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture, Homeopathy) or changing their regulatory status (Naturopathy) under the Regulated Health Professions Act. These three cases provide an opportunity to explore and compare:
a) how emerging health care professions manage the transition through the process of transforming themselves via new statutory self-regulation;
b) how health care professions may be transformed by gaining or changing self-regulatory status;
c) how CAM groups perceive that gaining self-regulatory status or changing the way that self-regulatory status is enshrined in legislation affects the way they are viewed by, and interact with, others in the health care field. To answer our three research questions, we will conduct a comparative case study that employs mixed methods including quantitative (survey), qualitative (in-depth key informant interview) and document analysis components. The answers to these questions are central to health care human resource policy and to the successful integration of these three groups into the regulated health care system in Ontario. The current context in Ontario also provides a unique opportunity to provide theoretical insights into how new professions evolve and how changes in regulatory status impact an occupational group.
2. SAFETYNET: an Academic and Professional Partnership Building a Culture of Safety for Spinal Manipulation Therapy
Recent surveys estimate that 50% of Canadians have received spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), most commonly for back and neck pain. Despite its popularity, no safety reporting and learning mechanisms exist to allow regulated professions who provide SMT to monitor and reduce related harms. Although they recognize its importance, regulatory bodies state it is difficult for them to identify and remediate harms due to time and budget constraints. The ultimate goal of this team grant is to develop, pilot, evaluate and support a culture of safety for regulated professionals (chiropractors, physicians, physical therapists, osteopathic doctors and naturopathic practitioners) who provide SMT. Dr. Boon is leading a team of qualitative researchers and students to explore the safety culture of all the regulated practitioner groups currently providing spinal manipulation to patients in the Province of Alberta (Canada). In addition her team is exploring patients perceptions of the risks associated with spinal manipulation and the process of informed consent.
3. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of homeopathic treatment of children and youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent mental disorder in children worldwide, with boys more likely to be affected than girls. Most recent Canadian data suggests that almost 3% of Canadian children are diagnosed with ADHD. While many children find effective treatment through either stimulant medications or behavioral interventions, approximately 30% of diagnosed children are not well-served by these treatment options. Two-thirds of those with ADHD have been reported to be using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments of some kind. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with a wait list (usual care) control is designed to investigate if there: a) are any specific effects of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of ADHD; b) are any specific effects the homeopathic consultation alone in the treatment of ADHD; and c) is an overall effect of homeopathic treatment (homeopathic medicines plus consultation) in the treatment of ADHD.
Note: *senior author; Trainees under my supervision are underlined
- Vohra S, K Cvijovic,, H Boon, BC Foster; W Jaeger; D LeGatt; G Cembrowski; M Murty; D Vu; R Leitch; RT Tsuyuki; J Barnes; TL Charrois; JT Arnason; M Ware; R J Rosychuk “Study Of Natural health product Adverse Reactions (SONAR): Active Surveillance in Community Pharmacies" Accepted August 17 2012.
- Hirschkorn K, R Walji, Boon, H. “The role of natural health products (NHPs) in dietetic practice: results from a survey of Canadian dieticians” BMC CAM 2013; 13:156
- Boon H*, N Kachan, A Boecker. “Use of natural health products: How does being “natural” impact choice?” Medical Decision Making. 2013; 33(2):282-297.
- Tsui, T, H Boon*, A Boecker, N Kachan, M Krahn. “ Understanding the role of scientific evidence in consumer evaluation of natural health products for osteoarthritis: An application of the means end chain approach.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012; 12:198
- K Toupin, D Moher, J Stinson, A Byrne, M White, H Boon, C M Duffy, T Rader, S Vohra, P Tugwell. “Measurement properties of questionnaires assessing complementary and alternative medicine use in pediatrics: A systematic review”. PLoS ONE 2012;7(6):e39611.
- Walji R, H Boon*, J Barnes, Z Austin, R. Gray. “Reporting of natural health product-related adverse reactions: is it the pharmacist’s responsibility? International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2011; 19(6):383-391.
- Cvijovic K, H Boon*, W Jaeger, S Vohra for the SONAR group. “Hepatic necrosis and polypharmacy: an example when natural may not mean safe” CMAJ. 2011; 184(14):E1085-1089.
- Gaboury I, Lapierre LM, Boon H, Moher D. “Interprofessional collaboration within integrative healthcare clinics through the lens of the relationship-centered care model” Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2011;25(2):124-130
- Szczurko O, N Shear, A Taddio H Boon*. “Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of Vitiligo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.2011, 11:21.
- Mior S, Barnsley J, Boon H, Ashbury FD, Haig R. “Designing a model for collaborative musculoskeletal care delivery involving chiropractors and physicians in community-based primary care” Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2010; 24(6):678-689.
- Cvijovic K, H Boon*, W Jaeger, S Vohra. “Pharmacists’ participation in research: Can they find the time?” International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2010; 18: 377-383.
- Gaboury I, H Boon*, M Verhoef, M Bujold, L Lapierre, D Moher. “Practitioners’ validation of framework of team-oriented practice models in integrative health care: A mixed methods study” BMC Health Services Research. 2010; 10:289.
- Kopanski-Giles D, Vernon H, Boon H, Steiman I, Kelly M, Kachan N. “Inclusion of a CAM therapy (chiropractic care) for the management of musculoskeletal pain in an integrative, inner city, hospital-based care setting” Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2010:2(1): Special Issue 61-74.
- Byrne A, Boon H*, Austin Z, Jurgens T, Raman-Wilms L. “Natural health products (NHPs) and Canadian Pharmacy Students: Core Competencies“ American Journal of Pharmacy Education. 2010; 74(3) article 45.
- Olatunde S, H Boon*, K Hirschkorn, S Welsh, J Bajcar. “Roles and responsibilities of pharmacists with respect to natural health products: Key informant interviews” Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2010: 6(1):63-69.
- Walji R, Boon H*, Barnes J, Austin Z, Welsh S. “Consumers of natural health products: Natural-born pharmacovigilantes?” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2010; 10:8.
- Gaboury I, Bujold M, Boon H*, Moher D*. “Interprofessional collaboration within Canadian integrative healthcare clinics: key components” Social Science & Medicine 2009: 69 (5):707-715.
- Boon HS, Mior SA, Barnsley J, Ashbury FD, Haig, R. “The difference between Integration and collaboration in patient care: Results from key informant interviews working in multiprofessional health care teams” J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009;32:715-722.
- Cvijovic K, Boon H*, Barnes J, Jaeger W, Brulotte J, Vohra S. “A tool for rapid identification of potential herbal medicine-drug interactions” Canadian Pharmacists Journal 2009; 142(5):224-227.
- Walji R, H Boon*, J Barnes, Z Austin, S Welsh, GR Baker. “Adverse event reporting for herbal medicines: A result of market forces” Healthcare Policy. 2009; 4(4): 77-90.
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