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Medication adherence, disease burden & health outcomes in IBD patients: New Zealand-wide inter-disciplinary investigation

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Monday, 15 April 2019
Academic background
Sciences, Humanities, Health Sciences
Host campus
Medicine (Dunedin)
Kristina Aluzaite, Professor Michael Schultz, Associate Professor Rhiannon Braund


Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) are chronic illnesses requiring constant disease monitoring and careful medication regime. Poor medication adherence may lead to inefficient treatment outcomes, disease relapse and requirement to escalate to more aggressive therapies, which may eventually result in worse long-term health outcomes.

This project builds on a previous investigation on perceived medication adherence and associated barriers in Southern District Health Board IBD patients.

The study investigated patient-level medication adherence levels and experienced challenges. The proposed PhD project aims to investigate country-wide systemic and healthcare level challenges that may lead to worse access to medications and poor adherence, lack of adequate knowledge/understanding by the patient, and poor support provision to the patient (IBD patients).

This part will identify the key determinants of poor medication adherence across New Zealand and establish if there is a link between poor medication adherence and worse healthcare outcomes and associated higher healthcare costs.

Required qualifications

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed project, students from a range of disciplines will be considered. The ideal candidate will have a background in health or clinical sciences, such as pharmacology, public health, medicine, epidemiology or health policy. The prospective student should be interested in healthcare outcomes, inflammatory bowel diseases, medication adherence and health equity. Strong interest/prior experience in research is a must. The ideal candidate should also have strong writing skills. Computational, statistical and other data-handling background/experience/skills will be an important advantage.

The further parts of the research project will depend on the findings of the first part of the study. The scope and the specific direction of the PhD project will depend on the background and interests of the successful candidate.


Kristina Aluzaite