1. What is your role at your organisation and how do you support practitioners /or the industry?
My name is Tonia Maxwell and my current role is Sales Support and Events for Oborne Health Supplies. Prior to this I held the position of Practitioner Consultant for Qld for 7 years.
Oborne Health Supplies is an Australian, family owned and operated business and since opening in 1990, Oborne Health Supplies has followed a consistent corporate mission – to provide health professionals with fast, efficient, and economic access to safe, high quality, natural, traditional, and complementary medicines, and to provide ongoing professional education and technical support.
We achieve this through our representation of over 350 brands and through our close involvement in industry events and attending regular, internal training.
Oborne Health Supplies’ directors Gillian & Barry Oborne have sponsored awards for students at the Colleges and Gill has long been an active proponent in promoting natural medicines and supporting the cause of naturopaths in Australia. Gill played a key role in negotiations with government associations and TGA regulators to enable naturopaths to continue to have access to important herbal and nutritional medicines. Gill & Barry employ over 40 qualified health practitioners.
2. How did you get into your area of expertise and why do you stay?
Personal circumstances saw the need for me to make a career change. I truly believe that everyone should have access to the best options for their individual health situation and that conventional/ allopathic medicine doesn’t have all the answers.
Working as a Practitioner Consultant for a distribution company allowed me to offer education, support, and a huge selection of products for Practitioners to choose from which hopefully then assisted them in being able to provide their patients with the best possible options for treatment and care. I stayed in this role for 7 years as every day was challenging and different. I loved the constant learning and education and the collaborative relationships I developed with some amazing practitioners.
3. What has been the main focus or outcomes of your work over the past year?
Moving into a different role this year has allowed me the opportunity to support our consultants internally. My main focus has been provide our team with the tools they need to be able to offer our customers the best possible product or treatment options, education, service and support.
4. How has your field changed in the past 5 years? What new areas are emerging?
In the past 5 years we’ve seen TGA, Government and Industry Association challenges and changes. We’ve been introduced to new product brands, herbs, nutrients and testing. More money is being invested in research and the requirement for evidence-based therapies is rising. We’ve learnt more about health disorders and the way the human body works.
We’ve seen growth & development in so many areas, but the emergence of Covid-19 and its variants have probably had the most significant effect. The demand for products and specific herbs and nutrients has often overtaken supply and online education, training, collaboration and clinical practice have become widely available and accepted.
5. What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years in your particular field?
Moving forward I think we’ll see new product trends and health disorders, a greater focus on preventative medicine, higher understanding of the science behind the human body and a more in depth knowledge on the MOA of herbs and nutrients. I think the public demand for alternative and integrative therapies will increase.
6. What is the one-way you believe natural medicine practitioners, can make a difference for their clients?
By providing best patient care.
I believe that this can be achieved through keeping an open and inquisitive mind, assessing all options available, promoting partnerships and referrals with other practitioners (allied and alternative), undertaking consistent education, and truly addressing the patients needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
7. Fun Fact for the Readers: Tell us who inspires you / or who your professional idol is and why?
I’m inspired by the Industry collaborative: practitioners, company representatives, business owners, researchers, product developers, educators. Pretty much everyone who has a strong passion for their chosen field and who work with integrity and the desire to do better.