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Issue 404 | 10 June 2016 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

It is hard to believe that we are almost at the shortest day (21 June ) and a reminder that we will again be celebrating the Maori New Year with Matariki on Tuesday 28 June.

The faculty has a number of colleagues and friends who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours awards. Dr Dianne McCarthy was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to science, business and women. Di was formally Deputy Dean of the Faculty and more recently the Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand.   

Dr Tom Millar, a long serving member of the Department of Medicine was also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to medical research.  Ms Pru Etcheverry, Director of the Leukemia and Blood Foundation and strong supporter of blood cancer research was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit as was Emeritus Professor Bryan Parry, surgeon and senior member of the Department of Medicine.

Drs Pat Alley, a noted surgeon at Waitemata Hospital and Garnet Tregonning, an orthopaedic surgeon from Middlemore Hospital became Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit. My very warmest congratulations on behalf of all the faculty.

Last week I was in China to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and to sign a dual Masters degree programme to allow for the bi-directional exchange of staff and students in the pharmaceutics sciences.

The SUTCM celebration was a spectacular three day event complete with a banquet, gala and invited guests from across the globe. The celebrations gave me serious thought as to how we might celebrate our faculty’s 50th birthday in 2018. 

Best wishes,

John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ

Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The University of Auckland


Sonography pilot evaluation success

 From left to right: Maureen Chimwayange, Erin Chambers, Karen Wallis, Associate Professor Jenny Sim, Alan Williams, Julia Metcalfe, Alana McLaren, and Professor Paul Donaldson.
From left to right: Maureen Chimwayange, Erin Chambers, Karen Wallis, Associate Professor Jenny Sim, Alan Williams, Julia Metcalfe, Alana McLaren, and Professor Paul Donaldson.
Image of Associate Professor Jenny Sim
Associate Professor Jenny Sim

Congratulations to Associate Professor Jenny Sim for an outstanding evaluation of our new sonography training programme by the Ministry of Health.

The programme was established by Jenny who leads the Postgraduate Programme for Medical Imaging in the School of Medical Sciences. Jenny is based in the Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging.

Jenny has worked hard to get this programme to such a high level of credibility.

The final evaluation report for our ultrasound intensive course was released on the Ministry of Health website in May.

Read the report

The programme was evaluated on two fronts - the quality of the course and the outcomes.

The outcomes refer to the trainee and supervisor productivity, and the corresponding impact at the workplace.

For the quality of the course, the programme scored excellent for all six evaluation criteria, and for outcomes, the programme was rated excellent for all 12 evaluation criteria.

The trainees undergoing the intensive course were reported to be six to nine months ahead of their counterparts who have not been through the intensive course. A very positive result.

The report concluded that the course "has produced excellent results on all outcomes".

Jenny says, that they now have both the public and private sectors coming together to fund the course. This is a testimony to the success of this education initiative led by the University of Auckland.

The programme has received strong support from the School and Department, led by Professor Paul Donaldson and Professor Alistair Young.


Prizes for maternal sleep practice research

Image of Robin Cronin
Robin Cronin

Research into maternal sleep practices in late pregnancy in a multi-ethnic sample in South Auckland has led to two prizes for first-year doctoral student, Robin Cronin.

Robin is a student and midwife in the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and was awarded the prizes at the recent Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) meeting in Townsville.

She was awarded the Richie Centre Award for Translational Research and the PSANZ New Investigator Award Midwifery Oral award.

Robin presented on her doctoral research that is connected to a larger study, the Multi Centre Stillbirth Case Control study that aims to identify modifiable risk factors for stillbirth in late pregnancy, (funded by the Health Research Council and CureKids).

Her doctorate examines the link between maternal sleep position and stillbirth and whether women change their sleep position or may have already changed sleep position, in response to hearing about the link.

She says, many of the women she surveyed had heard about the importance of sleep position and had found it easy to change position.

At the Perinatal Society meeting, there were a mix of presentations about research into pregnancy and neonates, so her research tied in well with other presentations on reducing morbidity and mortality.

Her doctoral research is supervised by Professor Lesley McCowan and Associate Professor John Thompson.


Many changes at faculty since graduates left


It was wonderful to welcome so many of our medical school graduates to the annual reunion on Queen’s Birthday weekend with more than 130 Alumni travelling from all around New Zealand and across the Tasman to attend this celebration.

This year we celebrated the graduates of 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 – many of whom were astonished at how different the Grafton Faculty looks from the old grey “fortress” of the past.

The head of the School of Medicine, Professor Phillippa Poole, herself a 1986 graduate, welcomed alumni at a cocktail function on Friday evening.

She commented on how much times had changed and reminisced about the old Pac Man machine that once stood in the Student Commons.

On the Saturday morning, I was able to share more about the many significant changes at the Faculty. These included the significant rise in student and staff numbers since the 1970s and that we will be welcoming 300 students onto the Medical School programme next year.

Thanks to the assistance of six current students and support from the Alumni Relations and Development office, we were able to take alumni for a tour of the Faculty.

We highlighted the many differences there are in studying now compared to 30 or 40 years ago. In particular, the alumni enjoyed the tour of the AMRF Medical Sciences Learning Centre and also Angela Tsai’s excellent showcase of the labs where significantly different technologies are available to current students compared to what was in use during their time as students.

Attendees were also able to catch up with their class groups and also enjoy class photos.

Thank you to all the staff and the students who helped to make this such a special event. It is so important to ensure our Alumni feel welcomed and part of the Faculty even if it is many years since they last visited here.


Ensure your work is attributed to you with ORCID

ORCID® (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is an open source, not-for-profit community initiative. Put simply, it is a 16-digit unique personal identifier designed to ensure all your work is attributed to you.

We strongly encourage you to obtain an ORCID ID. Once you have done so (or if you already have one), you can give permission for the University to access it so your ORCID automatically displays on your Staff Directory profile.

This also enables future integration with other University of Auckland systems and research workflows to save you time.

Find out how

The benefits of gaining ORCID include:

  • An ORCID distinguishes you from other researchers with the same or a similar name and allows reconciliation of all the name variations you have published under. It moves with you across institutions ensuring continuity of identity throughout your academic career.
  • It integrates with other researcher identifier systems such as Scopus ID and Web of Science’s Researcher ID, so you can create a combined list of all your research outputs, even if they are listed in separate databases.
  • Link your ORCID ID with your University of Auckland Directory profile.
  • Add your ORCID ID to your personal website, blog, and presentations.
  • ORCID works with systems such as Research Gate,, and LinkedIn.

Some publishers now require ORCID IDs at manuscript submission such as, IEEE, PLOS, the Royal Society, and Taylor and Francis is trialling this.

Many funding agencies are requiring or investigating the use of ORCIDs in funding applications including Wellcome Trust, NIHR (UK), US NIH, Australian NHMRC, and the Australian Research Council. Web of Science will add an ORCID ID to an existing database record if the author has put details of that publication in his/her ORCID profile.

For more in-depth information, see ORCID at the University of Auckland.


Summer Research Scholarship Prize Giving

Image of From left to right: Henry Wallace, Andrew Hall, Kathryn Adams, Ashlea Williams, Jill Campbell, Callum Chalmers, Micah Austria, Lydia Hingston and Frances McDaid
From left to right: Henry Wallace, Andrew Hall, Kathryn Adams, Ashlea Williams, Jill Campbell, Callum Chalmers, Micah Austria, Lydia Hingston and Frances McDaid

This year the faculty hosted a record 172 Summer Research Scholarships - the highest number in its history.

The scholarship provides a $5000 stipend for students to undertake a 10 week research project with an academic supervisor as a ‘first taste of real research’. This gives the students the chance to mix with researchers and postgraduate students who are working at the forefront of their chosen fields.

As a key part of the scholarship, students are asked to complete a final report detailing and discussing the research they have conducted, its significance and the impact on their development.

Sponsored by the Wallath Trust, the Wallath prize of $750 is awarded to the student with the top ranked research report in each project category (Biomedical/Clinical/Public Health). Highly commended certificates are awarded to the next two highly ranked students.

Supervisors nominate reports that they believe to be in the top five percent, and these are then assessed by the Associate Dean (Research) and nominated review panels before being awarded.

Congratulations go to all those students who received prizes this year at the prize-giving held in May. Below are the 2015/2016 Wallath Trust awards recipients:


Biomedical category

Highly commended:

Winner: Micah Daniel Austria (Centre for Brain Research)


Clinical category

Highly commended:

Winner: Henry Wallace (General Practice & primary healthcare)


Public Health category

Highly commended:

Winner: Frances McDaid (Growing up in New Zealand)


A+ Charitable Trust Prize 2014/2015

Highly commended: Matthew Kent

Winner: Lydia Hingston

Of the 172 studentships awarded this year, 72 were sponsored through our faculty’s long-standing relationships with external funders – the highest number of externally supported studentships in recent years.

These include: A+ Trust, Australia & New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM), Cure Kids, Heart Foundation, Hope Foundation, Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust, NZ Pharmacy Education & Research Foundation, Maurice & Phyllis Paykel Trust, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, The School of Medicine Foundation, University of Auckland Foundation, Waitemata District Health Board, and the Whanganui District Health Board.


View our highlights from the event