The need for ABM care for a vast range of animals is fast growing, particularly with the growing awareness of manual/physical therapies, and their benefits, not only by animal owners, but also by professional trainers & managers, as well as other service providers to animals. More and more studies are demonstrating how these therapies may be effective and there is a real need for professional level training in this area.
The ABPA was highly aware of the gap left by the termination of the previous RMIT Animal Chiropractic program and a dedicated team led by Drs Kate Haines, Kim Lim and Rowan Kilmartin spent many hours writing the new Graduate Diploma Animal Biomechanical Medicine course, which was accredited under VRQA, in line with the Australian Qualifications Framework, in 2013.
RMIT University introduced the highest level of Animal Chiropractic training in the world, with its Animal Chiropractic Graduate Diploma and Masters Programs, which commenced in 1998. The 2 year Graduate Diploma, and 3 year Masters Degree were only available to qualified, registered Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Veterinarians. Practitioners came from all over Australia, New Zealand and Asia to participate in this ground breaking program. Over 150 professionals graduated from the Graduate Diploma course over the following 12 years until it was discontinued at the end of 2009.
Seven practitioners went on to complete the intensive Masters program: Kate Haines, Ian Bidstrup, Rowan Kilmartin, Swee Kim Lim, Shane Watterson, Shane Ryan and Liza Sergeev. Another course graduate, Lesley Hawson, has completed a PhD involving equine biomechanics, behaviour/training and horse/saddle/rider interactions. That said, many course graduates find that their day to day practices are so busy that further study is quite difficult - there is certainly demand for this form of care for animals.
The new course was a complete re-write, starting with a skills & knowledge analysis to establish the competencies needed by a professional offering ABM. Students spend the first year gaining ABM assessment skills, which translate smoothly into treatment skills in their second year. Along the way, they are required to demonstrate proficiency in communication and scientific skills such as conducting a literature review, developing research plans and writing scientific articles. The course is designed with a high practical component as all instruction and resources are aimed at producing an effective and proficient practitioner, with a wide range of treatment skills, who can offer results oriented ABM treatment options to their patients.
A partnership agreement to deliver the course was established with Box Hill Institute in Victoria, and the new course went live in October 2014 – with an extremely keen & co-operative inaugural group of students. The ABPA wishes to acknowledge Box Hill Institute for its solid support of this innovative and unusual, world-unique education program.The pre-requisite knowledge for ABM is extremely high, as there is an enormous amount of material to cover in a short time and therefore the new course is still only available to applicants who are qualified and registered Veterinarians, Osteopaths or Chiropractors.