Good news for medical research and learning exchange opportunities for staff and students following the establishment of a collaborative initiative between the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) and Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI).

Associate Dean Research at CMNHS, Dr Donald Wilson, who is also the Director of the new Fiji Institute of Pacific Health Research (FIPHR) said the partnership would strengthen medical studies in Fiji as well as provide a platform for greater research in areas of interest.

“The new FIPHR was established to co-ordinate better all research conducted by our College staff and students and our collaborative research experience over the years has proven that funding agencies require the ability to demonstrate reliable and transparent research administration and financial processes.”

“The structure of the new FIPHR meets these requirements, so its establishment has been strategic.”

“The relationship with OGHI was formalised following the attendance of a few researchers from OGHI at the successful Pacific Islands Health Research Symposium (PIHRS) that was held last year.”

“There is no doubt that the relationship with OGHI will benefit not just both countries and institutions, but the greater Pacific region,” Dr Wilson highlighted.

OGHI, a flagship research centre of the University of Otago (UO), is investing in new research initiatives in collaboration with the College to help address health problems in the country.

Co-Director of the Otago Global Health Institute, Professor Philip Hill, says the Institute is investing $100,000 in five new research projects over the next two years.

“We hope to lay the foundation for long-term research collaborations, which will lead to research that addresses the most pressing health problems in Fiji and East Timor.”

One of the initiatives involves CMNHS Assistant Lecturer, Sakiusa Cabe Baleivanualala, who has been awarded a PhD Scholarship by UO, to conduct a study into the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. His supervisor will be Associate Professor James Ussher from the Division of Health Sciences.

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