Al­ter­na­tive medicine prize shared by two MDs

$250,000 is de­signed to raise aware­ness


Two providers of al­ter­na­tive and com­ple­men­tary health care were awarded a lu­cra­tive prize Fri­day night in Van­cou­ver to rec­og­nize non-con­ven­tional health ser­vices.

The $250,000 Prize for Achieve­ment in Com­ple­men­tary and Al­ter­na­tive Medicine was split by Dr. Badri (Bud) Rickhi of Cal­gary and Dr. Hal Gunn of Van­cou­ver.

The prize is named for Dr. Roger Hayward Rogers, who be­gan of­fer­ing al­ter­na­tive medicine in the 1970s and founded the Cen­tre for In­te­grated Ther­apy in Van­cou­ver. The prize is de­signed to raise aware­ness of com­ple­men­tary and al­ter­na­tive medicine and to rec­og­nize its prac­ti­tion­ers.

Rickhi, who left a promis­ing ca­reer in psy­chi­a­try in the late 1980s, treats de­pres­sion us­ing Chi­nese, Ayurvedic, Ja­panese and Ti­betan medicine.

Rickhi founded the Re­search Cen­tre for Al­ter­na­tive Medicine, now the Cana­dian In­sti­tute for Nat­u­ral and In­te­gra­tive Medicine, and also helped es­tab­lish the In­te­gra­tive Health In­sti­tute at Mount Royal Uni­ver­sity in Cal­gary.

Re­cently, Rickhi has fo­cused on teen de­pres­sion.

Gunn, who once prac­tised with Rogers, ex­panded Rogers’ Cen­tre for In­te­grated Ther­apy, now called In­spire­Health.

“He took the seed of what Dr. Rogers started and grew it into a cen­tre that now sees hun­dreds of can­cer pa­tients per year,” Web­ster said.

The bi­en­nial prize for Cana­dian re­searchers and prac­ti­tion­ers of al­ter­na­tive medicine was first awarded in 2007.

Rogers’ cen­tre was de­signed to help can­cer pa­tients who have had lit­tle or no suc­cess with tra­di­tional medicine.

He was ap­pointed to the Or­der of Bri­tish Columbia in 2001 for pro­vid­ing al­ter­na­tive care to can­cer pa­tients.

The founders of the char­ity that funds the prize turned to Rogers in the 1970s, when Lotte Hecht was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. Rogers helped her eval­u­ate al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies.

Hecht and her hus­band al­ready ran the foun­da­tion and added an­other ob­jec­tive to its goals: The in­ves­ti­ga­tion and sup­port of com­ple­men­tary medicine in the treat­ment of can­cer.

The ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans use al­ter­na­tive medicine to main­tain their health, strengthen their im­mune sys­tems, com­ple­ment tra­di­tional ther­apy, or fill gaps in con­ven­tional medicine, ac­cord­ing to a 2006 Fraser In­sti­tute study.

More than 570,000 B.C. res­i­dents aged 12 and older saw al­ter­na­tive health care providers in 2005, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent data avail­able from Statis­tics Canada.

That’s 15.8 per cent of the prov­ince’s res­i­dents in that age group, com­pared with a rate of 13.7 per cent na­tion­wide.

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