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About the University of Otago, Christchurch

The University of Otago, Christchurch is located in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand and is a division of Health Sciences within the University of Otago. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The city is the regional capital of the province of Canterbury.

The University of Otago, Christchurch is the base for medical and postgraduate health education, and for health research in Christchurch, the South Island’s major urban centre. There is a close collaboration between the Campus, the Canterbury District Health Board, the region’s hospitals, general practitioners, and other health and community agencies.

The University of Otago, Christchurch has 26 Professors across a wide range of Clinical, Biomedical and Public Health disciplines. In addition, there are a further 60 clinical academic staff, over 100 research staff, and over 300 clinical staff employed by the Canterbury District Health Board who contribute to teaching.

Academic co-ordination and responsibility is achieved through the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences)/Dean of the Faculty of Medicine based in Dunedin. There are/will be approximately 85-90 medical students in each of the three clinical years in Christchurch. There are approximately 450 postgraduate health sciences students in Christchurch in a range of programmes to PhD level. Currently there are over 70 PhD students.

The central Campus building houses the Department of the Dean (Administration), two lecture theatres, numerous seminar and meeting rooms, audio conference centre, student facilities and a staff cafeteria. Also housed in the building is the Canterbury Medical Library (with 300,000 books and 550 journal subscriptions, but with access to a further 600 journals belonging to Hospital and University Departments); the Department of Pathology, including the hospital service Departments of Anatomical Pathology and Cytology; computer facilities; and three floors of research laboratories. Most academic department headquarters are located in one of the main Christchurch Hospitals. Medicine, Surgery, Anaesthesia, Orthopaedics and MSM, Radiology and Paediatrics are located in Christchurch Hospital, adjacent to the Christchurch central Campus building. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology is based at the Christchurch Women’s Hospital, which is situated on the Christchurch Hospital site, and Health Care of the Elderly is based at The Princess Margaret Hospital. The Department of Psychological Medicine, the Department of Public Health and General Practice, and the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies are located in buildings a short distance from the central Campus building.

Research facilities in the central Campus building are administered for shared use. Major equipment is provided for interdepartmental use. Equipment available includes a mass spectrometer, a fluorescent in-situ hybridisation facility, a fluorescence-activated cell sorter, automatic protein and DNA sequencing, modern chromatographic and spectroscopic equipment, and up-to-date molecular biology computing and electron microscopy/image analysis facilities. Most research funding is obtained from sources outside the University on a contestable basis. Expenditure from external research funding grants held in the School was approximately $20m in 2006.

As well as providing the fourth, fifth and sixth year of the undergraduate medical programme there are strong postgraduate programmes in Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Otago, Christchurch. These include programmes for trainee specialists in all branches of Medicine, and research training at Masters and Doctorate levels in Medicine, Science and the Health Sciences. The Christchurch Campus has developed strong postgraduate health science courses, especially in Nursing, Public Health, Mental Health and Musculoskeletal Medicine.

Based upon Performance Based Research Funding criteria staff, within the Campus, with international reputations for excellence are involved in the following areas of research:

  • Cardioendocrine research; clinical and laboratory
  • Free radical biochemistry
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Neonatal paediatrics
  • Longitudinal studies of health and wellbeing
  • Suicide and attempted suicide
  • Bipolar disorder and depression
  • Infectious diseases

In the 2006 Performance Based Research Funding Assessment, University of Otago, Christchurch was the top ranked of New Zealand’s four Schools of Medicine, and the University of Otago was the top ranked University.

About Christchurch

Known as the Garden City, Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island with a population of 360 000. Christchurch prides itself on its arts, its sports, its history,and its gardens.

Culture and entertainment are well provided for in a number of live theatres and fine art galleries.