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How do firearms, floods and flu impact public health?

Wellington campus

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 8:24am

The University of Otago Wellington has released its 2018 Summer School programme.

Firearms and public health, impacts of New Zealand’s most common natural hazard - flooding, and lessons from the 1918 flu pandemic are just some of the courses and seminar talks being offered by the University of Otago, Wellington’s Public Health Summer School.

The Summer School courses will look at these and other important public health issues. It runs from 7 to 28 February 2018 on the University of Otago’s Wellington campus, and this year, 18 of the 30 summer school courses are new.

The timing of this year’s Public Health Summer School coincides with the centenary of the most devastating global health disaster in modern history – the 1918 influenza pandemic. It caused more than 8600 deaths in New Zealand and millions more died elsewhere.

On the first day of the Summer School, 7 February 2018, a panel of international and New Zealand experts will discuss the pandemic, its impact, and what we have learned for modern pandemic planning. A public lecture on the issue will be held that evening.

“As well as core courses aimed at upskilling those working in public health and related areas, we have courses on contemporary subjects to provide the workforce with up-to-date knowledge, so they can respond effectively to these emerging issues,” says Summer School convenor Professor Michael Baker.

Global health experts will also gather to discuss key issues as they relate to indigenous populations in a two-day symposium on cancer and another on suicide prevention, mental health, and well-being research.

“Many of our toughest issues are the so-called ‘wicked problems’ of modern life,” says Professor Baker, who is from UOW’s Department of Public Health.

“Challenges like improving mental health, reducing child poverty, preventing cancer, and making our housing and cities healthier and more sustainable – all these issues benefit from taking a broader population health perspective, which is our main motivation for running the Summer School.

“New knowledge and technologies are also giving us improved ways of looking at these issues, such as use of New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). About half of the courses offered are on research methods.”

The UOW Public Health Summer School is the longest running school of its kind in Australasia and one of the largest in the world in terms of the range of courses and attendee numbers. It attracts hundreds of people from across New Zealand and beyond, and brings together global and regional collaborators on topical public health issues.

View the website for the full programme and to register. Early-bird rates are available until 20 December 2017.

For further information contact:

Professor Michael Baker,
Convenor, Public Health Summer School
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington
Tel: +64 4 918 6802 
Mob: 021 355 056 

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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