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Issue 396 | 19 February 2016 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

Welcome to the first Dean’s Diary for 2016. I hope you were all able to get some rest and relaxation during the holiday period.

It is sobering to think that we are already half way through February and the bulk of undergraduate students arrive next week to begin the 2016 academic year. 

CANVAS is the University’s powerful new teaching and learning management portal that replaces CECIL and will be implemented this semester. Staff in the faculty have made enormous efforts over the past 6 months to transfer current course material and we are quietly confident that all our first semester courses are covered and the students will enjoy and enhanced experience. 

I wish to thank everyone for their efforts in meeting the tight timeframes for CANVAS development and I hope that we can repeat these results for our second semester courses.

The most pressing issue facing the faculty this year will be the planning for the relocation of our activities at the Tamaki campus. As many will know, the Tamaki site was re-zoned last year by Auckland Council which increases the possibility of an early sale.

This does not necessarily mean an early exit of the University, but a priority for me as Dean will be to develop a business case and plan for the relocation of the clinics, the surgical simulation suite and the School of Population Health. 

This will be done with full consultation with relevant groups through a representative Faculty planning group that I will be establishing to assist in the planning process.

Best wishes,


Regards, John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ

Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The University of Auckland


Ophthalmology benefits from generous research support

Image of Front row from left: Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon and Joan Ready. Back row from left: Dean of Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Professor John Fraser and Professor Charles McGhee
Front row from left: Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon and Joan Ready. Back row from left: Dean of Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Professor John Fraser and Professor Charles McGhee

Former Faculty Administrator, Joan Ready has repaid the kindness of Ophthalmology Department Head, Professor Charles McGhee with a donation of $250,000 to spend at his discretion.

Joan has worked at the Faculty for more than 35 years in various research and management roles including manager for Physiology, research technician, manager for Pathology, Clinical Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Medicine, and of the Rural Health Inter-professional Immersion Programme.

In the FAR reshuffle, she was offered a workspace in ophthalmology by Professor McGhee and worked there until her recent retirement.

Professor McGhee says he is extremely grateful to have had Joan as a great friend and colleague over the last 17 years; with Joan playing an integral part in many of the major developments in Ophthalmology.

Professor McGhee says Joan’s unexpected, outstandingly generous and altruistic philanthropy will now enable a new generation to taste the excitement of embarking on research.

Professor McGhee anticipates that the Joan Ready fund will help start the budding career of several future ophthalmologists and clinician scientists in New Zealand.


Eight distinguished clinical teachers acknowledged

Image of From left: Cheryl Johnson, Gavin Pilkington, Anne O’Callaghan, Simon Rowley, Diane Emery, John Kennelly, John Fleming and Anthony Hardy
From left: Cheryl Johnson, Gavin Pilkington, Anne O’Callaghan, Simon Rowley, Diane Emery, John Kennelly, John Fleming and Anthony Hardy

Earlier this month our faculty acknowledged the eight recipients of the School of Medicine Distinguished Clinical Teachers Award for 2015.

This year’s awardees are from five of the departments within the School of Medicine:

The School of Medicine Distinguished Clinical Teachers Award acknowledges the contribution to teaching made by honorary clinical academics.

The award acknowledges individuals who have made substantial contributions to clinical teaching in the Faculty over many years and who have carried heavier teaching workloads than many of their peers including assuming leadership positions in clinical teaching, delivery and participating in teaching development or new course establishment.

The awardees have all generated particularly positive comments and feedback from students and colleagues, with some having undergone formal training in clinical teaching or undertaken research in clinical teaching.

Please join me in congratulating each of these extremely worthy award recipients.


Young doctors gains Hillary Gold

Image of Dr Oscar Lyons
Dr Oscar Lyons

Congratulations to Dr Oscar Lyons, a surgical education fellow at the South Auckland Clinical School and senior house officer at Manukau Surgical Centre, who recently received a Duke of Edinburgh - Hillary Gold Award in the Auckland Challenge.

Oscar, 25, took three years to achieve his Gold Award as he was working and studying at the same time. The Hillary Award is voluntary and non-competitive and gives young people a balanced programme of personal challenges.

Three levels include completing skills in physical activity, community service and expedition leadership.

The award aims to create involvement in the community, resilience and leadership skills. Oscar told the Manukau Courier that the award developed qualities vital to people achieving their potential in life and work.

Oscar spent three weeks at Outward Bound for his gold residential section with highlights including sailing, hiking, rock climbing, white water kayaking and his first half-marathon.


Seeyle Fellows visiting in 2016

Uni of Auckland9

This year’s visiting Seelye Fellows include a psychologist, a neuropsychologist, and an obstetrician specialising in the placenta.

First to arrive at the University of Auckland will be obstetrician, Dr Sally Collins from the University of Oxford, who was invited by Dr Joanna James in our Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Dr Collins is a highly esteemed clinical researcher specialising in placental blood flow, Doppler ultrasound and foetal growth.

During her public lecture on Monday 29 February, Dr Collins will talk about her work on the use of ultrasound to better understand the placenta.

Read more

Professor Daniel S. Shaw, who was invited by Associate Professor Trecia Wouldes from our Department of Psychological Medicine, will visit in late October.

Professor Shaw visits from the University of Pittsburg where he has a distinguished career in clinical and developmental psychology.

Dr Shaw’s research interests are the developmental outcomes of high-risk boys and the prevention of adolescent alcohol, drug use and psychopathology.

Read more

Neuropsychologist, Professor Juan-Carlos Arango, was nominated by Distinguished Professor Richard Faull ONZM (Centre for Brain Research) and will visit in the latter half of the year.

Professor Arango is from the University of Deusdo in Bilbao in northern Spain and is a neuropsychologist who over the last 15 years has established a pre-eminent international standing in the rehabilitation of people affected by dementia, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Read more


Extremely high standard of research at showcase

Image of Dr Chris McKinlay
Dr Chris McKinlay

Late last year our School of Medicine hosted their annual ‘Doctoral Research Showcase’, an event that celebrates the high-quality doctoral research completed during the year.

Eight final year doctoral students, nominated by their respective departments, gave 10-minute presentations on the findings from their research.

There was a great turnout of academic staff and students who enjoyed the presentations, all of which were of an exceptionally high standard.

Warm congratulations to all those who presented - particularly Dr Ryan Gao (from our Department of Medicine) whose presentation, ‘Novel bone graft substitutes’, was judged the winner.

Congratulations also to Dr Chris McKinlay (from our Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health) who received the prize for 'Top Publication by an Emerging Researcher’.

Dr McKinlay received this award for the publication ‘Neonatal Glycemia and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 2 Years’ (N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct 15;373(16):1507-18).