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Public health news from the University of Otago

Seven inaugural Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair appointments to mark 150th

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Monday, 30 September 2019

In a new initiative, the University is celebrating its internationally acclaimed scholars by creating a prestigious new role - the Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair (Poutoko Taiea).

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

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Monday, 9 September 2019


I tērā wiki i whakanui mātou Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

Otago academic to head new national cancer strategy

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Monday, 2 September 2019

The new interim National Director of Cancer Control, University of Otago academic Professor Diana Sarfati, believes lives will be saved as a result of the new National Cancer Action Plan.

Teenagers say ‘nope’ to dope

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Friday, 16 August 2019

New research from the University of Otago, Wellington, has shed light on the declining use of cannabis use by teens.

RNZ interview with Dr Kaaren Mathias CIH Adjunct Research Fellow based in India

Monday, 5 August 2019

RNZ interview with Dr Kaaren Mathias CIH Adjunct Research Fellow based in India.  Dr Kaaren Mathias is medical doctor who's been living in India since 2006. She's working in community health and development as well as being involved in a number of other projects helping to improve both the physical and mental health of the people in communities in Uttarakhand.

Old vaccine brings new surprises

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Friday, 19 July 2019

New research about an old vaccine – one that has been in use for nearly 100 years – has not only shown how effective it is but also suggests it improves our immune response to a wider range of bacteria than originally intended.

Māori-led research at Otago awarded more then $3m in HRC funding

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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Māori researchers from the University of Otago have been granted more than $3 million in funding from the Health Research Council (HRC) to tackle a wide range of projects ranging from water safety to disability support access for Māori - including our very own Dr Emma Wyeth.

Butting Out: Researchers gauge public opinion on tobacco product waste

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Friday, 14 June 2019

Requiring cigarettes to contain biodegradable filters, fining smokers who litter cigarette butts and expanding smoke free outdoor areas are measures the public considers are most likely to reduce tobacco product waste, new University of Otago research reveals.

Opinion: Why are taxpayers subsidising licensed firearms owners?

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

OPINION: Online comment from some local gun lobbyists after the Christchurch shooting bypassed sympathy and jumped straight to worries about government "taking our guns away". Despite such attitudes, firearm owners are happy for the rest of us to subsidise them through our taxes.

Otago’s emerging researchers secure more than $1.7 million in HRC funding

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

An occupational therapist who aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities is one of several University of Otago early-stage researchers who have together been awarded more than $1.7 million in Health Research Council funding.

Making the homeless count

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Thursday, 9 May 2019

When Dr Kate Amore began researching homelessness for her PhD at the University of Otago, Wellington, the country was in denial that the issue was even a problem, she says.

Housing WOFs need to be combined with education, study shows

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Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Alongside funding and regulatory support, understanding how housing affects health and safety can spur owners to make improvements to their properties, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and WISE Better Homes have found.

Kids’ everyday exposure to food marketing

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Monday, 8 April 2019

You can view an introduction to a paper where Professor Louise Signal is a lead author. Her research used cameras on children to study their exposure to food marketing.

2019 Departmental Awards

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Friday, 5 April 2019

We held our inaugural Annual Departmental Awards Dinner in February. At this event, seven members of staff were acknowledged for their contributions within the Department to improving and protecting public health, locally and globally, through excellence in teaching, research, or service.

Vicky Nelson presented her research at the In-house Convention

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Monday, 25 March 2019

NTMHRU Assistant Research Fellow - Māori health, Ms Vicky Nelson (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Ruanui), presented at the In-house Convention. Vicky presented on a research project that herself and Associate Professor Sue Crengle (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) are conducting this year, titled 'Rangatahi Primary Mental Health - A Kaupapa Māori Approach to Identifying the Gaps and Needs' 

Otago researchers call for urgent law change

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Firearms law changes promised by the Prime Minister are long overdue, according to experts in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Marie Russell and Dr Hera Cook.

We hosted the fantastic Dr Rawiri Jansen today 

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

We hosted the fantastic Dr Rawiri Jansen today who gave a talk to our PUBH304 tauira on the hauora kaupapa Waitangi Tribunal Claim.

Train station signs send weak smokefree signal

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Friday, 22 February 2019

More than 20 per cent of the 54 railway stations in the lower North Island have no smokefree signs at all and many others have signs of poor quality, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

Are we closing the health gap?

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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Listen to Professor Louise Signal, Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, participate in a radio panel interview considering progress in addressing health inequities.

Our Director attends the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Principal Investigators' Wānanga

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Monday, 18 February 2019

Last week, our director, Dr Emma Wyeth, was fortunate enough to attend the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Principal Investigators' Wānanga at the beautiful Rānana up the Whanganui River. 

New Zealand leads global effort to control rheumatic fever

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Monday, 11 February 2019

A three-year project aimed at pinpointing the most effective ways to prevent and control rheumatic fever and associated heart disease in New Zealand is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Otago graduate influential in Africa

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

The first PhD student to graduate from the University of Otago’s Centre for International Health (CIH) has been named the most influential woman in the education and training sector of business and government in part of Africa.

Licence to Swill: James Bond’s drinking over six decades

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Monday, 10 December 2018

He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue.

Samuel Carrington is underway with his MPH

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Samuel Carrington is currently underway with his masters project exploring Māori understandings of antimicrobial resistance using a One Health approach.

Sobering insights into alcohol marketing and Māori children

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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Innovative camera research has revealed that New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing in their residential and school neighbourhoods. The collaborative research by the Universities of Otago and Auckland, found children’s exposure to alcohol marketing was higher in neighbourhoods with greater numbers of alcohol outlets and for Māori participants.

Professor Tony Blakely wins 2018 Chaffer Medal

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Thursday, 1 November 2018

One of the country’s leading epidemiologists and public health researchers has been awarded this year’s Chaffer Medal for distinguished performance in health research.

Otago’s NEXT magazine Woman of the Year

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman of the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, stepped into a world of unaccustomed glitz and glamour when she was judged NEXT magazine’s 2018 Woman of the Year at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland earlier this month.