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Otago researchers gain patient services project funding

Main entrance to the University at night

Thursday 26 May 2011 12:41pm

University of Otago researchers have gained Health Research Council (HRC) funding for two collaborative projects aimed at improving New Zealand patient services in primary mental health and arthritis, respectively.

A total of four new HRC research partnership projects were recently announced. These will utilise the experience and expertise of frontline clinicians to provide innovative and workable solutions to improve health delivery services. They require the collaboration of the health research community and the health delivery organisations.

Professor Sunny Collings (University of Otago, Wellington), in partnership with Valley Primary Health Organisation and Hutt Valley DHB, is principal investigator in a $199,249 project involving primary mental health development.

Associate Professor Lisa Stamp (University of Otago, Christchurch) will lead a $102,779 project focusing on smoking in rheumatoid arthritis patients in partnership with Arthritis New Zealand.

Professor Collings’ project is titled “Found in translation: implementing a tool for primary mental health development”. It will investigate the adoption and implementation of a new New Zealand-based Toolkit for primary mental health care development.

An explanatory case study design will be used to determine the structural and non-structural characteristics of the organisations that influence adoption and implementation, and whether or not adoption of the Toolkit leads to any measurable changes in service provision or use.

The sustainability of the Toolkit use and the transferability of the findings to other health contexts will also be assessed.

Associate Professor Stamp’s project is titled: “Identifying & overcoming barriers to smoking cessation in rheumatoid arthritis”.

Smoking has been shown to be a powerful environmental risk factor for the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and smoking also results in worse disease outcomes and reduces the efficacy of medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Associate Professor Stamp’s project will explore the knowledge and beliefs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in relation to smoking as it affects their condition. Specific arthritis related factors that contribute to difficulties with smoking cessation will be explored.

A rheumatoid arthritis-specific smoking cessation programme will then be developed based on the findings and piloted in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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

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