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Eating disorder project wins Christchurch summer studentship awards

Wednesday 3 February 2021 1:53pm

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Programme winners from left: Lorna Pairman (clinical category), Jessica Permain (laboratory category), Shistata Dhakal (overall winner) and Jordan Meddings (community category).

A project summing up the financial cost of eating disorders in New Zealand took out the top prize at this year’s University of Otago, Christchurch Summer Studentship programme awards.

Student Shistata Dhakal found the majority of loved ones and caregivers of those with eating disorders experienced significant financial impacts – including giving up jobs, taking an average of 60 days off work a year and taking out loans or second mortgages to pay for private treatment. The project was sponsored by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.

The annual Summer Studentship Programme offers undergraduate students the chance to work on a real-world research project for ten weeks under the supervision of senior scientists. There are three categories – clinical, laboratory and community. Female students won all three categories, and the overall prize.

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Summer Studentship 2020/2021 class.

The winner of the clinical category was Lorna Pairman who investigated how frequently the reasons for prescribing medications – or medical indications – were recorded at the time of prescribing in the medical chart. Recording the reasons medicines are required is associated with improved adherence and treatment success. This project was also sponsored by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.

Student Jordan Meddings won the community category. Her project focused on the success of a family-focused diabetes intervention programme. It was sponsored by the University of Otago, Division of Health Science.

The winner of the laboratory category was Jessica Permain was investigated the role of a particular bacteria in colorectal cancer. The project was sponsored by the Cancer Society Canterbury West Coast, Malvern & Ellesmere Groups.

Reports on each project are expected in the coming weeks.