Avni Sali

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Avni Sali
Born Shepparton, Australia
Nationality Australian
Medical career
Profession Integrative Medicine Specialist
Field Integrative Medicine
Institutions The National Institute of Integrative Medicine, University of Melbourne, Swinburne University

Professor Avni Sali MBBS, PhD, FRACS, FACS, FACNEM is an Australian surgeon, researcher, author, and media personality primarily known for advocating an "integrative" approach to medicine, combining evidence-based conventional treatments with complementary therapies.


In 2008, Sali founded the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia.,[1] a not-for-profit charity, aims to further research, clinical practice and education in the field of integrative medicine.

Professor Sali, through his clinical and research work, has highlighted the importance of nutrition in chronic illness, and the role of lifestyle interventions in the treatment and prevention of disease. He is one of the pioneers of mind-body medicine in Australia, and a leader in integrative approaches to cancer care.

He is a founding member of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM)[2] and was a board member of Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA).[3] He was president of AIMA from 2007-2009.

He is a sought after speaker and an outspoken opinion leader in the areas of public health and lifestyle medicine.

Professional Life[edit]

Professor Sali was one of the first MBBS graduates from Monash University in 1966. He graduated with final years honours in Surgery, Medicine and Paediatrics and was later awarded a PhD in Surgery.

Professor Sali then worked with Queen’s Surgeon and Chief Medical Advisor Sir Professor Kay, pioneer of gastrointestinal surgical function at the Glasgow Western Infirmary in Scotland. Professor Sali returned to Australia to become Professorial Assistant (Associate Professor) in the newly established Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne. Eventually becoming head of Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital (now the Austin Hospital).

Professor Sali’s research interests are evidenced in more than three hundred published research reports focusing on the digestive system, nutrition, lifestyle, mind-body medicine and sports medicine. His major research into children’s nutrition[4][5] in the 1970s, the first of its kind in Australia looked at nutrition, weight and bowel habits in primary school children. This research on primary school children was utilised by the Australian Federal government’s Life be in it program,[6] to improve eating habits.

His research continues to further his philosophy of integrative medicine and, in 1998, he founded the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, with the support of the then Vice Chancellor Iain Wallace and Ian Brighthope from ACNEM.

As the director of NIIM Professor Sali is involved in research, education and providing clinical services in the area of Integrative Medicine (in particular Integrative Oncology). He sits on many medical boards, committees and advisory panels and has been involved with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). He is a contributor and editor on several journals and publications and frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences.

Career Highlights[edit]

The NIIM is an independent clinical, education and research facility founded by Professor Sali. His team of researchers and clinicians provide innovative and comprehensive therapies, screenings and treatments based on the evidence-based integrative model. The NIIM is self-funded and reinvests into further research, education and patient care.

The Graduate School of Integrative Medicine[7] was established by Professor Sali in 1998 at Swinburne University of Technology and provided post-graduate integrative medical training and conducted innovative research.

The first integrative hospital, the Swinburne University Hospital, Hawthorn, was founded by Professor Sali. It provided conventional and complementary therapies for comprehensive patient care. The hospital closed as it was not able to raise adequate funds to keep it viable.[8]

During his time at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital,[9] Professor Sali established various clinical procedures with an emphasis on digestive diseases, including cancer. He pioneered surgical procedures including a gallstone dissolution procedures and was instrumental in the establishment of an immune function testing facility, of which there were only two, at the time, in Australia.


Professor Sali is the coauthor of An evidence-based guide to integrative Medicine with Dr Vicki Kotsirilos and Professor Luis Vitetta (Elsevier 2011).[10]

He has contributed chapters to textbooks and has co-authored leading surgical texts including The practice of Biliary Surgery.[11]

In 1987, he launched the One-page good diet book [12] a guidebook with simple, research-based nutritional guidelines for the general public. In 1988 produced a Vitamin and Mineral decoder.


In 2002, Professor Sali was presented with the St Michael’s Award[13] for outstanding community service, and in 2004 he was awarded the Australian Humanitarian Award[14] for contributions to health.

In 2012, Professor Sali was the recipient of the ACNEM Award[15] for service to Nutritional and Environmental Medicine at ACNEM’s 30th Anniversary commemoration. The event featured a special address from Prime Minister, The Hon Julia Gillard.

Professor Sali has received Professorial Appointments at University of Melbourne, Swinburne University, University of Queensland and the Cairnmillar Institute.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Professor Sali is married to Hana Sali, and has three adult children. He was born in Shepparton, Australia. His family migrated from Albania in the 1920s and were successful farmers. The Sali family farming continues to be involve in farming and other ventures.


  1. ^ "The National Institute of Integrative Medicine". 
  2. ^ "Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine". 
  3. ^ "Australasian Integrative Medicine Association". 
  4. ^ Sali, A; Holt M; Thompson G (1999). "Constipation and diet in primary school children". Journal of Nutritional Medicine UK 3: p257. 
  5. ^ Sali, A; Holt M; Parker E; Thompson G (1992). "Dietary habits of primary school children: obesity and influencing factors". Journal of Nutritional Medicine UK 3: p263. 
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Life Be In It". 
  7. ^ "Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. Swinburne University of Technology. (-2009)". 
  8. ^ Jackson, A (29 April 2013). "Combined therapy hospital to close". The Age. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  9. ^ "Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital". 
  10. ^ Sali, A; Kotsirilos V; Vitetta L (2011). An evidence-based guide to integrative Medicine. Elsevier. 
  11. ^ Sali, A; Kune G (1980). The practice of Biliary Surgery 2nd ed. Oxford, Melbourne: Blackwell Scientific Publications. 
  12. ^ Sali, A (1987). The one-page good diet book. Melbourne: Dynamo House. 
  13. ^ "St Michael's Medallion Recipients". 
  14. ^ "Australian Altruism Foundation – Act Now 2008". 
  15. ^ "ACNEM 30th Anniversary". 
  16. ^ "Cairnmillar Newsletter June 23, Page 2".