Research on health services and systems in New Zealand, and beyond, is a major strength in the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Otago.
Visit the listings of our research groups below, or check out our featured projects.
Featured research projects
The Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme has an aim to build capacity and academic rigour in New Zealand in the estimation of disease burden, cost-effectiveness and equity impacts of proposed interventions, and undertake a range of such assessments. It is a Health Research Council (HRC) funded programme, from 2010 to 2015. Major collaborative partners include the University of Queensland and the Ministry of Health.
The Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) research group is a collaborative group of researchers working at the interface between public health, health services research, and clinical medicine. Our work includes a range of projects aimed at reducing the impact of cancer and chronic conditions on population health and health inequalities through policy and health system change.
The Centre for Health Systems and Technology (CHeST) has a particular focus on the applied end of health system and technology research, supporting the translation of research into practice.
CHeST's five core themes:
- Health Care Delivery
- Health System Architecture, Management, and Performance
- Health Quality, Safety, and Community Engagement
- Health Workforce
- Health Technology
The Centre for International Health facilitates and promotes research to contribute to the understanding and improvement of health in under-resourced countries, and focuses on postgraduate training and strategic mentorship of leaders.
The Centre for Pacific Health is home to a dedicated team of Pacific and non-Pacific researchers working in areas of importance to Pacific communities in New Zealand and internationally.
Pacific health is a holistic concept that encompasses broader ideas on well-being to encompass physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. With more than 20 different cultures captured under the umbrella of ‘Pacific’, there are unique approaches to health that mean health care, health systems and health services can be enriched with further understanding of Pacific-specific approaches to health.
Here at the Christchurch Heart Institute we help save thousands of lives through research into improved diagnosis, better prediction and advanced treatments for heart disease. Our team of internationally-renowned experts directly play a role in increasing the survival of New Zealanders with heart disease.
Our research focus:
- New blood tests for heart attack diagnosis and prognosis
- Using new methods for treating heart failure and improving outcomes
- Understanding the genetics of heart disease; why heart disease runs in some families
A team based in Public Health has been contracted to conduct an evaluation of a recent demonstration site initiative being conducted in some community pharmacies in Canterbury. The goal of the new model operating in the demonstration pharmacies is to enable pharmacists to better utilise their extensive expertise in medicines management to support patients in the safe and effective use of medicines.
D4—Diagnostics, Drugs, Devices and Discovery focuses on translational research for improving care.
- Creating novel point-of-care diagnostics and devices enabling targeted and selective treatments
- Developing smart drug delivery systems and devices to improve and optimise therapy
- Drug discovery for innovative treatments
The network draws together the disciplines of bioengineering, pharmaceutical science and drug discovery with an emphasis on collaborating with commerce and industry.
The Healthier Lives National Science Challenge is a national research collaboration dedicated to achieving healthier lives for all New Zealanders.
We are working on the prevention and treatment of four of New Zealand’s main non-communicable diseases.
- Cardiovascular disease
Our mission is to deliver the right prevention to the right population and the right treatment to the right patient. We plan to do this in partnership with stakeholders and communities by generating world class research, and translating our research findings into innovative health policy, practice, and technology, designed for New Zealand’s unique communities.
This research is conducted within the Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch. It explores the intersections between the experience of living with HIV, aging and social isolation in Canterbury across time to inform planning for service delivery models.
Research suggests that people are living longer with HIV and therefore as a group are getting older; more people are being diagnosed with HIV later in life; and there has been a trend in geographical movement of people living with HIV/AIDS from cities to rural areas. These factors all have an impact on access to support and health services.
This project will adapt and apply new outcome measures and modern statistical approaches to evaluating hospital performance in New Zealand. As well as providing information on variability and trends in in-patient outcomes and hospital-level predictors of these outcomes, this project will provide the statistical basis for a sophisticated system for analysis and monitoring of hospital outcomes. A particular focus of this project is the identification of aspects of hospital organisation and working environment which may be related to patient outcomes.
Mental health is a broad and complex issue facing New Zealanders – and a research strength of the University of Otago. This website brings together our investigators and teams contributing to New Zealand's research achievement in the field of mental health.
Explore our mental health research:
- Alphabetical listing of our mental health research
- Māori and Pacific mental health
- Mental disorders
- Mental health risk factors
- Population mental health and health services
The aim of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research is to build collaborations via research and policy translation nationally and internationally.
The NCLR and partners have a long history of conducting world-leading lifecourse research.
- Research on human development aimed at informing policy and practice
- Intervention research: Assessing the impact of programmes and interventions on people's lives
The New Zealand National Poisons Centre (NZNPC) answers enquiries both from health professionals and from the general public concerning acute poisoning and the toxic effects of chemicals, drugs, poisonous plants, poisonous insects and marine animals. The 24-hour telephone number is 0800 POISON (0800 764-766). The NPC also maintains an extensive database (TOXINZ) that contains information and treatment guidelines for the management of poisoned patients. The database contains some 200,000 listed chemical products, pharmaceuticals, plants and hazardous creatures. It has New Zealand specific trade names, household products, plant and animal species.
The Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit is a partnership between Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Dunedin School of Medicine of the University of Otago. The Unit collects, collates, interprets and publishes information, data and statistics on Māori health issues.
We aim to improve global health and save lives, by identifying and evaluating solutions to important health problems in low-resource settings.
We work to address the world's most pressing health problems through research collaborations with low- and middle-income countries, and with disadvantaged groups in New Zealand.
We draw upon New Zealand's unique connections with Asia and the Pacific. Our extensive international partnerships and cross-disciplinary collaborations enable us to carry out innovative and rigorous research to advance global health.
Talofa lava, kia orana, malo e lelei, fakaalofa lahi atu, bula vinaka, malo ni, halo ola keta, mauri, fakatalofa atu, and warm Pacific greetings!
We're celebrating our Pacific health research in the Division of Health Sciences.
Learn about what's going on in Pacific health research, how we can support researchers, and where to start if you're excited about research.
While sex work is no longer illegal, we have no idea if and how the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) (2003) has informed social work practice with sex workers. We will explore the extent to which social workers are aware of the legal rights afforded to sex workers, and the extent to which young people under the age of 18 involved in sex work are affected by the legislation.
The School of Pharmacy has a very active research programme with disciplines ranging from science to humanities with each having a strong contextual link to health sciences.
- Clinical Pharmacy: concerned with patient care and the optimisation of medicine use in order to promote health and wellness, and prevent disease.
- Pharmaceutical Sciences: drug discovery, drug metabolism and drug action to extend the range of drugs available and to provide a scientific basis for the quality use of medicines and bioactive substances.
We advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health in New Zealand. Our research aims are to develop clinical research that translates discoveries into measurable health benefits, and to maintain fundamental research that underpins our teaching. From the molecular level through biological systems to the health of populations, our research is improving oral health in New Zealand.
Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare strives to create a Kaupapa Māori space committed to improving Māori health outcomes and eliminating inequalities through quality science and ongoing theoretical development. It takes a rights-based approach consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi, and is engaged with community through a spectrum of influence from community development, policy advocacy, research dissemination and Māori health research workforce development.
The Virtual Health Information Network (VHIN) supports high value and high quality research from linked data, frequently using the StatsNZ Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The VHIN is a network of researchers, analysts and professionals who share and collaborate to use health and social data and generate insights to improve the health and well-being of all New Zealanders. The VHIN aims to build capacity and capability.
- Code sharing
Better integration is one of the key issues facing health care globally, but the challenge is how to bring health professionals, researchers and the community together.
With the ability to link health, social and economic data, the Virtual Health Information Network is helping researchers and decision-makers gain maximum benefit from the information contained within New Zealand’s big data assets.
A well-established research connection between the Christchurch Heart Institute and the National University of Singapore is enabling innovative work with significant global implications, changing the way heart failure is viewed from one part of the world to another.
The Centre for International Health plays a significant role in projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, with partners from across the University and collaborators from around the globe, addressing some of the most pressing health issues facing the developing world.
Estimating disease burden, cost-effectiveness and equity impacts of health sector interventions.
Dr Suetonia Palmer is sorting the wheat from the chaff.