HealthSearch was established by the Integrative Health Trust Otago (IHTO). IHTO was formed in 2004 by members of the public and a group of doctors, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners, and academics. The idea to form a trust flowed from recognition that there was a need in the community for better information on CAM, and the desire to support initiatives that give people experiencing illness broader healthcare options than those provided by publicly funded, conventional healthcare agencies.
The 2003 Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners conference in Dunedin highlighted and identified the increased use of CAM both in New Zealand and worldwide, and became the catalyst for a trust to be established.
IHTO identified a need to establish a website which would provide quality information on all healthcare practitioners, whether CAM or mainstream, and would allow individuals in the community to choose available treatments and practitioners.
IHTO began with the establishment of a cancer support group known as DOVES (Determination, Optimism, Vitality, Energy and Support), which ran from 2004 to 2011.
Other projects that IHTO has been involved in include:
Involvement in community-based programmes
The establishment of HealthSearch would not have been possible without the generous support and funding of the Community Trust of Otago and the Freda McGuckin Charitable Trust. This funding has enabled IHTO to create and launch this website without practitioners paying to participate, and without the assistance of commercial advertising.
The current Board acknowledges the contribution made by the Foundation Trustees and the particular skills and expertise that they brought to the table, not only for the various programmes undertaken by IHTO, but also in envisioning some form of database or website which provided quality information to the community.
Collette Blockley, Odette Callanan, Dr Monika Clark-Grill, Dr Marj Copeland, Wendy Halsey, Geoff Mirkin, Dr Suhari Mommsen-Bohm, Dr David Perez, Dr Kath Ryan, Dr Sue Walthert, Dr Tony Yelavich.