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Million Dollar Boost For Parkinson’s Diseases


Million Dollar Boost For Parkinson’s Diseases Research And Treatment

The Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) are to establish a Professorial Chair for the research and treatment of patients with Parkinson’s Diseases in Christchurch. This has been made possible by the generous bequest of $1.2 million from the estate of Mr Cas Van der Veer through the CMRF.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago, Dr Graeme Fogelberg, announced the establishment of the Chair while speaking at the launch of the University Advancement Campaign at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences on Wednesday 13 November.

Dr Fogelberg said that the University’s Advancement Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising programme ever undertaken by a University in New Zealand.

“Our aim is to advance the University of Otago as a world class facility, part of which is the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences. To do this we have to invest in human capital, not bricks and mortar. Key areas of academic activity have been identified by our staff as priorities for support and development. This can be achieved through the establishment of new professorial positions, the enhancement of existing positions and increased funding for both existing and new research activities. This generous gift from the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation is a significant contribution towards the fulfilment of the University’s objectives.”

The endowment is tagged to research and clinical treatment of Parkinson’s Diseases over a five year period, with all funds being spent in Christchurch. Some 6000 people suffer from Parkinson’s Diseases in N.Z. and there is no known cure.

“This is an exciting development for the Christchurch School of Medicine’s research programme,” says the Dean, Professor Ian Town. “The funding will establish the School as a leader in the field of Parkinson’s Diseases and further develop clinical services for patients.”

The $1.2 million will be spent on both research and clinical treatment of Parkinson’s Diseases in Christchurch. An agreement has been reached with Canterbury DHB to provide support for two days of clinics per week for people with Parkinson’s Diseases, one at Christchurch Hospital and the other at Princess Margaret Hospital. The CMRF will also contribute a further $500,000 for further research into Parkinson’s Diseases.

The Chairman, Mike Stenhouse says, “the CMRF is delighted to be involved in this project as our mission is to support and fund excellent research in Canterbury.”

CMRF Director Guy Johnson says the Centre will work closely with patient support groups to keep them fully informed of progress and to build on the reputation of the School of Medicine’s and Canterbury DHB’s commitment to Parkinson’s Diseases. The new Chair is expected to be advertised internationally in December.


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