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Research groups and units in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

AIDS Epidemiology Group

The AIDS Epidemiology Group (AEG) has been responsible for national surveillance of AIDS and HIV infection in New Zealand since 1989.

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Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit

The Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit was established in 1990 with core funding from the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the support of the University of Otago. Presently it has research programmes operating in our five priority areas of tobacco control, ultraviolet radiation exposure, physical activity and nutrition, psycho-social-spiritual factors, and Hauora Māori.

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Centre for International Health

The Centre for International Health facilitates and promotes research to contribute to the understanding and improvement of health in under-resourced countries, and focuses on postgraduate training and strategic mentorship of leaders.

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Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit

The Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit conducts research into the causes of cancer and the evaluation of screening for cancer is undertaken. It has undertaken nationwide investigations into the causes of cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate and, with colleagues, cancer of the breast, lung, head and neck and melanoma in New Zealand.

In addition, using the latest techniques, the Unit is developing methods to predict an individual's risk for various cancers. 

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Injury Prevention Research Unit

The Injury Prevention Research Unit (IPRU) undertakes research that contributes to reducing the incidence, severity and consequences of injury in New Zealand.

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New Zealand National Poisons Centre

The New Zealand National Poisons Centre answers inquiries both from health professionals and from the general public concerning acute poisoning and the toxic effects of chemicals which may be encountered in emergencies of any sort.

In case of poisoning, call 0800 POISON (0800 764 766). This is a free 24/7 poisons information service available to all New Zealanders.

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New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre

The New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre (previously known as CARM) was established in 1965 for the purpose of monitoring adverse reactions occurring in patients to medicines marketed in New Zealand.

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Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit

The Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit is a partnership between Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Dunedin School of Medicine of the University of Otago.

The Unit collects, collates, interprets and publishes information, data and statistics on Māori health issues.

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Occupational health

The Department's occupational health research supports our teaching and clinical practice, and covers areas such as acute care disaster preparedness, sola ultraviolet radiation exposure, occupational health of front line workers, and occupational health in agriculture.

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Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network

The Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network (PRN) has two broad aims:

  • To foster the development of high quality pharmacoepidemiological research that is relevant to New Zealanders, and
  • To facilitate collaboration between academic researchers, healthcare providers, and relevant Ministries and other government-funded agencies

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Other research interests

  • Cancer epidemiology and control
  • Environmental health
  • Health promotion
  • Human development
  • Infectious diseases
  • Prevention of alcohol-related harm

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Read more about research in public health at Otago