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Professor recognised for clinically-relevant work on obesity

Wednesday 5 December 2018 1:01pm

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New Zealand Medical Journal editor-in-chief Professor Frank Frizelle presents the Robinson Award to University of Otago, Christchurch’s Professor Doug Sellman at a ceremony last Friday.

A publication focused on helping obese patients lose weight and have a better quality of life has won the University of Otago, Christchurch’s Professor Doug Sellman a prestigious New Zealand Medical Association award.

The Association’s Robinson Award is given for excellence in medical writing and a clinically relevant manuscript. It is given at the discretion of the New Zealand Medical Journal’s editor-in-chief and comes with a $2,000 reward. Professor Sellman, a psychiatrist and addiction expert, has given his money to Kia Ākina, a charitable trust that supports and encourages people to overcome obesity and live a better quality of life.

The award recognises a paper Professor Sellman and his colleagues published, titled Psychosocial enhancement of the Green Prescription for obesity recovery.

"... my team and I are overwhelmed to receive this award. It recognises that obesity is a fundamental challenge for healthcare systems today and it is critical that we assist the thousands of people already suffering from obesity and prevention in primary care."

The study looked at the merit of obese patients being part of Kia Ākina’s obesity recovery programme for a year, in combination with a Green Prescription programme led by their general practitioner. The paper concluded people doing both programmes, compared with those just following a Green Prescription, lost more weight (3.6kg vs 0.7kg) and were far more confident about their recovery and had a better quality of life.

New Zealand Medical Journal editor-in-chief, Professor Frank Frizelle, says the paper “makes sense of one of the global issues affecting health today … in a way that everyone can understand”.

Professor Sellman says he and his co-authors Ria Schroder, Daryle Deering, Jane Elmslie, James Foulds and Chris Frampton are thrilled their work had been recognised.

“I’m delighted, and honestly my team and I are overwhelmed to receive this award. It recognises that obesity is a fundamental challenge for healthcare systems today and it is critical that we assist the thousands of people already suffering from obesity and prevention in primary care.”

The award money was donated by the Medical Assurance Society.