Experts unite to ‘supercharge’ children’s health, wellbeing & education

University of Canterbury experts are playing a key role in a new research collaboration to improve outcomes for the region’s youngest and most vulnerable.

At the recent Research for Children Aotearoa launch, from left: Kiki Maoate (Te Whatu Ora / Pasifika Medical Association/University of Otago, Christchurch), Gail Gillon (University of Canterbury), Peter Townsend (Te Papa Hauora), David Murdoch (University of Otago), Amber Clarke (Whitiora), Tony Walls (Te Whatu Ora/University of Otago, Christchurch), Suzanne Pitama (University of Otago, Christchurch), Tufulasi Taleni (University of Canterbury).

Research for Children Aotearoa is a collaboration led by Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct. It includes researchers from the Universities of Canterbury and Otago, and the Pasifika Medical Association, and Ngāi Tūāhuriri hapu.

Professor Gail Gillon (Ngāi Tahu iwi) is head of the University of Canterbury’s Child Well-Being Research Institute.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a strategy to make it the best place in the world for children to live. That’s a challenging task involving complex issues so we need a trans-disciplinary response. Canterbury has collaborations in health research and education through Te Papa Hauora. Research for Children Aotearoa further extends this mahi aimed at supporting tamariki and their whanau.’’

Te Papa Hauora independent chair Peter Townsend says its focus is bringing people and organisations together to ‘supercharge’ health research, education and innovation opportunities in the region. In the case of Research for Children Aotearoa, world-leading University of Canterbury education, speech-language therapists and psychologists, will work on projects with clinicians and medical researchers. The involvement of Ngāi Tuaruriri hapu and The Pacific Medical Association ensures the group’s mahi helps improve equity and meets the needs of our diverse community.

Townsend says to make the biggest difference, you bring people with complemetary but different skills, expertise and world views together. Research for Children Aotearoa is being more strategic about the work that needs to be done for the next generation.

Find out more in this video with Professor Gail Gillon here