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GG To Launch Women’s Health Research Centre

Wednesday 2 November 2005

Governor-General To Launch Women’s Health Research Centre

It’s no secret that men and women are different – especially when it comes to health.

Now a new research centre at the University of Otago’s Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences will focus specifically on women’s health needs. Called the Women’s Health Research Centre, it will be launched Friday 4 Nov. at 5.30 pm at Government House by Her Excellency the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright.

“Around the world, there’s growing recognition of the importance of research dedicated to women’s health and the need for centres focussing on that research,” says Dr Bev Lawton, who leads the Centre.

“Women have distinct health needs, many of which are different from men. These areas include contraception, fertility, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, menopause, maternal health, and health of the newborn.”

Non-communicable diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease also differentially affect women, she noted.

“Dame Silvia has kindly agreed to be our personal patron and fully supports our endeavours to advance the health and well-being of New Zealand women through research,” Dr Lawton says.

The centre will be based on at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences and will look at women’s health issues including post-menopausal health, diabetes, heart disease, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal health. The Women’s Health Research Centre will build on an existing capacity and experience for clinical trials and will work in collaboration with other researchers both nationally and internationally.

Among the studies the centre is currently running, is a two-year life-style study of over 1000 Wellington women aged 49 – 70 looking at reducing risk factors associated with diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The Women’s Health Research Centre developed from an existing group that started about seven years ago. The group began by looking at the health of 3500 mid-life women in New Zealand in an observational study. Some of these women were involved in the New Zealand arm of a large-scale hormone replacement (HRT) trial based in the UK.

Since then the centre has undertaken several studies, including studies looking at incontinence rates, diabetes risk and sexually transmitted infections.

The Women’s Health Research Centre aims to contribute positively to the health of women and families in the community, with an emphasis on wellness.


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