Professor Avni Sali AM - Australia
Founder and Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM), Melbourne, Australia and Member of the Scientific Board of the European Congress for Integrative Medicine. He is the former Head of Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Swinburne University and the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery, Heidelberg Hospital, Melbourne. Prof Sali has pioneered leading research and education in the field of Integrative Medicine, as well as being a specialist in the clinical treatment of cancer and chronic disease.
As a leader in his field and through his large body of work, he has inspired and led a new generation of doctors to the practice of Integrative Medicine. He is often bestowed with the title of ‘Founding Father of Integrative Medicine’ in Australia.
The National Institute of Integrative Medicine is a not for profit organisation leading the practice of Integrative Medicine at the NIIM Clinic and conducting Research and Education. Our mission is to provide the best of integrative healthcare, leading research into integrative medical treatments and technologies and educate health professionals and the public about integrative medicine. In 2022 we celebrated 10 Years of Research. Our NIIM Clinic in Melbourne, provides the community with access to integrative medical doctors, allied health practitioners and innovative therapies under the one roof.
Prof Sali was primarily instrumental in the establishment of the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine at Swinburne University, which was the first School of its kind, and led the establishment of the Swinburne University Integrative Hospital, which was the first integrative hospital.
His clinical expertise is in integrative medicine, including looking at the cause of disease. His special interest lies in cancer, chronic illness, autoimmune illness and other difficult health conditions.
Professor Sali donates his time to several positions on medical boards and associations. He is past President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA) and member of the Joint Working Party of the AIMA & Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) establishing the Integrative Medicine (IM) Network which oversees GP training, continuing professional development, and standards for safe ethical practice in the field of integrative medicine. He served for over 25 years on the Board of the Gawler Foundation and was President on two occasions. He was Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Queensland.
Other positions have included: the Australian and New Zealand representative of the International Society for Digestive Surgery; International Advisory Committee of the Vivekananda Yoga, India; the International Advisory Board of the National Committee on Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Indonesia; the Integrative Medicine Board of the HSC Medical Centre Malaysia, and the International Advisory Board of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Prof Sali has been a medical advisor to the Minister of Health, Kosovo.
He has served as a director of the Victorian Public Health Research and Education Council and on the Federal Government Complementary Health Care Consultative Forum and was also on the Federal Government Expert Assessment Panel for the National Institute of Complementary Medicine. He also led the Australian Government Biotech Alliance, Complementary Healthcare Mission, to Taiwan. He is a current member of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis.
Professor Sali’s research interests began in his early years as a Surgeon where he was involved in research in the field of gastroenterology. This included time at a prestigious academic surgical department in Glasgow, under the guidance of Professor Sir Andrew Kay who was knighted for services to surgery. From here, grew his ongoing interest and expertise in the gastrointestinal system and the microbiome.
His pioneering research has included:
- Australia’s first study into the eating habits of primary school children as well as investigating the role of school canteens on children’s diets.
- The first measurements of the dietary fibre content of Australia foods.
- First study into Australian footballers investigating current as well as looking at result of injuries of past players, and how this impacted on their lifestyle.
At the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Swinburne University his Research team lead many projects in the field of integrative medicine, which included:
- Osteoarthritis and the role of nutrition.
- Helicobacter Pylori and Probiotics.
- Intravenous Vitamin C and Lipoic acid as adjuvant therapy for cancer patients.
- Terminally Ill Patients and Pain Control.
More recently at NIIM, Prof Sali and the research team’s work includes:
- Innovative early detection of cancer cells in the blood (CTC)
- Unique blood test accurately detecting prostate cancer
- Fermented garlic (Kyolic Garlic) for the treatment of blood pressure, and reversal of artery disease
- Surgery and Intravenous Vitamin C to prevent brain damage from anaesthesia.
- Medicinal Cannabis for sleep problems.
Professor Sali’s teaching career began in 1969 presenting tutorials in the University Department of Surgery at the Alfred Hospital, and then lecturer in the Surgery Department at Prince Henry’s Hospital. The role of teaching and lecturing expanded over the many years teaching thousands of medical students, as well as nurses, pharmacists, and other allied health professionals at different hospitals and Universities, such as the University of Melbourne faculty of Medicine Continuing Education Programme.
He has also given numerous keynote lectures and talks at Medical and Scientific Conferences nationally and internationally; Universities; Hospitals; Medical groups and organisations; community groups and general public lectures.
He is an invited speaker at many seminars and workshops both nationally and internationally, every year. In 2018 he was invited to give a keynote presentation at the International Traditional and Complementary Medicine Conference, Istanbul Turkey, and in 2019 presented at the 12th European Congress of Integrative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain. In 2021 at the Portuguese Society for Integrative Medicine, 3rd National Congress on Integrative Medicine. In 2022 he presented at the 12th Malaysian International Conference on Holistic Healing in Cancer 2022.
The National Institute of Integrative Medicine hosts a very successful Annual Integrative Medicine Symposium covering a wide range of health topics with Australian and International Presenters.
He also volunteers his time to give educational talks on public health in metropolitan and rural communities.
Professor Sali is on the editorial board of several medical journals and reviewer of articles for health related publications. Including past positions such as, Associate Editor of the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Associate Editor of the Journal of Evidence Based Integrative Medicine and the AIMA Journal.
He has authored and co-authored hundreds of publications. As a surgeon he contributed chapters in the world’s two leading surgical text books, “Gallstones, Aetiology and Dissolution”, Ellis H and Schwartz S. and Maingot’s “Abdominal Operations” and has co-authored many medical books including: Kune GA, Sali A., “Surgery of the Gallbladder and Bile Ducts” 1986. Vitetta L, Sali A., “Mind Body Medicine: The Key to Health and Longevity. Chapter in Book In: Mind Body and Relaxation Research Focus” and Sali A, Vitetta L. “Ageing. In: General Practice: The Integrative Approach”, 2008, to name a few. He has also produced health booklets: The One Page Good Diet Book and The Vitamin and Mineral Decoder.
More recently he co-authored ‘A guide to Evidence-Based Integrative and Complementary Medicine’ published in 2011: Elsevier Australia. In 2016 a book about his life was published entitled “Visionary Man, Visionary Medicine”. In 2017 Prof Sali co-authored the text: A Clinician’s Guide to Integrative Oncology, Springer USA – the first textbook in Integrative Oncology primarily aimed at clinicians.
He has contributed hundreds of health articles in many publications from medical papers to public health pieces. Some of these publications have included: Australian Family Physician; Australian Doctor; Medical Journal of Australia; ANZ Journal of Surgery; The Journal of Complementary Medicine, Australian Integrative Medicine Association Journal; The Melbourne Review, to name a few. Professor Sali is often interviewed by the Media for commentary of health and wellbeing issues.
Over the course of his career Professor Sali has been honoured with awards including:
- St Michael’s Award for Outstanding Community Service.
- Australian Humanitarian Award for Contributions to Health.
- The Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Award in recognition of more than 20 years’ service.
- Appointment as Adjunct Professor with the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne.
His lifelong work has been the tireless promotion of bringing evidence-based Integrative Medicine into the mainstream medical model – to become the medical paradigm of healthcare.
In 2016 Prof Sali was honoured with an ORDER OF AUSTRALIA for “significant service to integrative medicine as an educator, clinician and researcher, and to professional education”.