Professor Avni Sali AM

MBBS, PhD, FRACS, FACS, FACNEM
Member of the Order of Australia

Founding Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine.

Professor Avni Sali AM is often referred to as the father of Integrative Medicine in Australia. In 1996 he was the Founding Head of the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine at the Swinburne University in Melbourne. In 2009 he established the not-for-profit, charitable National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM), and became its founding Director. In the past he was also Head of the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery at Heidelberg Hospital.

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 sits on numerous medical and other boards. He is a 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 is also a patron and ambassador for several organisations including: The Melbourne Therapy Centre, GVConnect and others.

Professor Sali’s previous appointments include: Australian and New Zealand Representative of the International Society for Digestive Surgery, and Director of Victorian Health Research and Education Committee (VPHREC). Professor Sali was a part of the Federal Government Complementary Health Care Consultative Forum and the National Scientific Advisory Committee in Complementary Medicine. More recently he has been appointed to the Australian Advisory Council on the Medical Use of Cannabis, providing an important opportunity for an ‘Integrative Medicine’ voice to be part of a national government committee.

Professor Sali is also involved with a number of Educational Medical & Teaching Research Facilities, such as the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburne University, Southern School of Natural Therapies, Box Hill Institute, and the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM). Professor Sali was instrumental in establishing the first post-graduate medical school in Integrative Medicine at a University: The Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Swinburne University Melbourne, as well as the first Integrative Hospital in Melbourne.

As a highly sought after Integrative Medical expert, Professor Sali regularly contributes to a wide variety of publications, including editorials and articles in Australian and International Medical Journals.

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.

Professor Sali is an invited speaker at numerous 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. He also volunteers his time to give educational talks on public health in metropolitan and rural communities. He is a regular contributor of health articles to publications.

For his contribution to the community, in 2002 he was awarded the St. Michael’s Award for Outstanding Community Service and the Australian Humanitarian Award for Contributions to Health in 2004.

In November 2012 he was honoured to receive an integrative medicine award in recognition of more than 20 years of service, at the Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Awards. In March 2013 Prof Sali received an appointment as Adjunct Professor with the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne.

Professor Sali has been a pioneer of health promotion focusing on the importance of nutrition, exercise and mind-body approaches to preventative healthcare. For example, from 1979-1981, he performed Australia’s first study into the eating habits of primary school children as well as the first study investigating the role of school canteens on children’s diets.

His clinical expertise is in the area of treating complex and chronic diseases, particularly cancer. 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.

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, Professor Sali was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to integrative medicine as an educator, clinician and researcher, and to professional education.”

Professor Sali Selected Publications