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Child health research receives shot in the arm

Child health research receives shot in the arm

Child health research in New Zealand has received a shot in the arm thanks to the efforts of The University of Auckland and the Child Health Research Foundation.

The Child Health Research Foundation (known more commonly as Cure Kids) has extended its commitment to a Chair in Child Health Research, based within the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, for another five years.

The position was originally established in 1975 to provide leadership in research focusing on children’s health issues.

Present Chair, Professor Ed Mitchell was appointed in 2001 under a three-year funding agreement with the Child Health Research Foundation. The renewal of the agreement will extend the Foundation’s contribution to more than $1 million.

Dean of Medical and Health Sciences Professor Peter Smith says the Faculty is delighted with the renewal of the funding agreement which recognises the contributions made by Professor Mitchell.

“The extension of the agreement is a tangible acknowledgement of Professor Mitchell’s world-class research experience. His team has made a significant contribution to the knowledge base in this important area of health research.”

Child Health Research Foundation Chairman Roy Austin says the understanding between the two organisations reflects how academia and community organisations can work together for the common good.

His comments were endorsed by Foundation Chief Executive Kaye Parker, who says the extension of the agreement will ensure that important research continues.

“We have a commitment to advancing understanding of health issues relating to children, and are pleased to be able to support the work of Professor Mitchell and his team who share our passion,” says Ms Parker.

Professor Mitchell, an expert in the epidemiology of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low birth-weight, thanked the Foundation for its continued support.

“Research is inherently linked to funding and we are delighted with the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to our work. We have had a high research publication output and our researchers and PhD students have made excellent progress,” says Professor Mitchell.

A number of child health research projects are in progress at the Faculty including a cohort study of children looking at the determinants of obesity, growth, cognitive development, behaviour, asthma and eczema, and an intervention study in children at high-risk of becoming allergic.

Other areas of research focus include preterm births, cellulites (a common skin infection causing increasing hospitalisation in childhood), acute rheumatic fever and stillbirths.


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