The Paediatrics and Child Health Section is part of the Department of Women's and Children's Health and one of three paediatric departments within the University of Otago, the other two being in Christchurch and Wellington. The Dunedin section functions as a tertiary level referral centre for the southern half of the South Island for both paediatric and neonatal intensive care problems.
The section has special interests in the following areas:
- Adolescent and young adult suicide prevention
- Aerosol delivery of drugs to the neonatal lung
- Autonomic function during sleep
- Child abuse and its prevention
- Clinical genetics
- Epidemiology and community child health
- Ethics and genetics
- Genetics of congenital malformations
- Neonatal and paediatric endocrinology
- Neonatal ventilation techniques
- The prevention of brain injury to the premature infant
- Sleep disorders in children, their effect on behaviour during the day
- Sudden infant death syndrome (cot death)
The section works closely with preclinical departments, especially the Departments of Physiology and Pathology (most notably in the area of developmental genetics) and the Department of Preventive & Social Medicine.
The section is involved with the education of medical students on paediatric issues, with a seven week attachment in the fifth year, and a four week attachment in the sixth year of medical training. There are two research fellowships regularly held within the department each year. Postgraduate study for the Master of Medical Science, MD and PhD are encouraged. Joint investigation with other departments within the basic sciences (biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and neuroscience) has led to strong collaborative research.