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Our achievements in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women's Health

Since we began in 2005, we have conducted numerous studies across a broad range of research areas in women’s health, including women’s sexual and reproductive health, Māori health, maternal and infant health, and access to services for female cancers (namely, breast and endometrium).

Our research has impacted on policies and clinical services offered to women in New Zealand and we have helped make positive changes to improve health outcomes of women today.

Other achievements include:

  • Establishing a world-first nationwide review of the preventability of severe acute maternal morbidity (co-funded by the Ministry of Health and Health Research Council). This follows our finding that 40% of severe maternal illness is potentially preventable. We suggest that 75% of those potentially preventable cases required improvements in care. This study will provide vital information needed to ensure changes in clinician education and systems to reduce this.
  • Work with young Māori teenage mothers and their children to gain insight into the systemic barriers to their maternity journey. This has informed policy, clinicians, communities, district health boards and the Minister of Health.
  • Assessing the health outcomes for 55,000 pregnancies, this provides ongoing information about where our resources need to go.
  • Research papers published in numerous prestigious medical and research journals including the British Medical Journal, International Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, and American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Carrying out the New Zealand arm of the international hormone replacement study WISDOM, and publishing this in the British Medical Journal. The study revealed for the first time that hormones increase quality of life and improve sexuality as well as the negative clotting effects shown in a previous American study.
  • More information being made available for women with uterine cancer. This was the result of our study looking at care pathways for uterine cancer. Our findings showed that women with bleeding after menopause were not being seen in a timely manner and that women lacked knowledge about the importance of bleeding after menopause.
  • Trials looking at sexual reproductive health which have revealed high rates of sexually transmitted diseases in young people, inadequate testing of pregnant women for infection, high acceptability of self-administered vaginal swabs for testing for infections, and the benefits of using long acting reversal contraception to reduce unplanned pregnancies.