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Issue 374 | 2 April 2015 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

Welcome to the Easter edition of the Dean’s Diary.

I’m delighted to report that the Vice Chancellor has now approved the establishment of a School of Optometry and Vision Science, effective April 1st (I’m sure the date was not meant to have any foolish significance). 

I would also like to advise staff that the University will be undertaking a Staff Survey in late May and I encourage everyone to take part – this is an important way that we can assess staff satisfaction both at the University and Faculty level.

The next edition of the Dean’s Diary will be Friday 17 April.

I hope you all have a very pleasant Easter break.



John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ

Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The University of Auckland


Goodfellow Symposium attracts record number of health professionals

Image of Professor Bruce Arroll tries out some Google AV glasses at the Goodfellow Symposium last weekend
Professor Bruce Arroll tries out some Google AV glasses at the Goodfellow Symposium last weekend

Each year our faculty’s Goodfellow Unit offers a continuing education service for medical professionals.

The two-day symposium provides delegates with a packed programme that shares the latest clinical knowledge and practical skills for general practice.

It is pleasing to see how the Goodfellow Symposium's reputation for high quality content attracts increased registrations each year.

This year the symposium attracted an additional 200 registrations over the previous year. That led to a shift in venue, with the Goodfellow Unit hosting the event at the Viaduct Event Centre on Wynyard Quarter. Even so, the venue was filled to capacity!

The sessions titled ’Skills for Next Monday‘ focussed the audience on new skills for helping patients and attracted more than 500 general practitioners and 50 nurses.

University of Auckland staff speaking at the Symposium included:

I know the event received very positive feedback from the delegates about the high calibre of both programme and speakers.

Congratulations to all involved in the Goodfellow Unit - especially Professor Bruce Arroll (Director) and Selena Armstrong (Project Manager) who ran the symposium, and the staff members in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care.


Brain Day 2015 a huge success

Image of Sophie King at Brain Day
Sophie King at Brain Day

Brain Day is a special annual event organised by the Centre for Brain Research and the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand to inform the wider community of the latest in brain research.

It also provides a forum for interaction with the community organisations who provide care and support for families and people touched by disorders of the brain.

Brain Day 2015 focused on helping the community understand the brain’s astonishing capacity, the way it changes through the lifespan, and the steps we can take to maintain a healthy brain.

Over 2000 members of the public attended the event, which featured science laboratory experiments, a very well-attended community group expo, musical performances by the CBR CeleBRation Choir and the University Glee Club and hands-on activities and fun lectures for the many children attending the event.

Lecture highlights included “Protecting babies’ brains” by Professor Alistair Gunn and “Music & Dance: Jazzing up your brain” with Professor Ngaire Kerse, Associate Professor Ralph Buck, and PhD students Carlene Newall and Kristina Zawaly.

Other highlights included “Older persons’ pain: assessment and management” presented by the husband-and-wife team of Professor Stein Husebø and Associate Professor Bettina Husebø, from the University of Bergen; and “The Inside Story: Imaging the brain” presented by a team of radiologists, Dr Andrew Smith, Auckland Radiology Group, Dr Ben McGuinness, Trinity MRI, and Dr Gerard Dieb, Centre for Brain Research.

The lecture series wrapped up with “The vision for dementia research” with Professor Richard Faull, Associate Professor Lynette Tippett and other members of the clinical team from the Brain Research New Zealand Dementia Research Clinic.

In a discussion series running parallel to the lectures, Emeritus Professor Michael Corballis discussed his latest book “The Wandering Mind”, Professor Russell Snell and Dr Rosamund Hill presented recent research developments in autism, Associate Professor Karen Waldie discussed “The teen brain: Puberty, drugs and rock’n’roll” and Associate Professor Paul Corballis and Barbara Fox from Alzheimers New Zealand led a discussion on “Living well with dementia”.


Award for statistical rigour and innovation

Image of Associate Professor Simon Denny
Associate Professor Simon Denny

Congratulations to Associate Professor Simon Denny from our Department of Paediatrics, Child and Youth Health at the School of Population Health, who recently received an international award for statistical rigour and innovation.

He received the DuRant Award at the annual conference for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) in Los Angeles.

The award fosters statistical rigor, innovation and excellence in research and was established in honour of SAHM Past President Robert H. DuRant, PhD, FSAHM.

Recognised worldwide as a leading voice in adolescent health research, Dr DuRant passed away in late 2009.

Associate Professor Denny received the award for his presentation and paper, titled: ‘Can Postgraduate Education in Youth Health for Healthcare Professionals Improve the Health Outcomes of Secondary School Students?’.

His paper concluded that postgraduate training in youth health among clinicians in school health services is associated with better health outcomes among students. These findings support specialised training in youth health for clinicians working predominantly with young people.