Rehab fellowship marks collaborative approach to research

3 November 2014

Waikato District Health Board has teamed up with Bupa Care Services and the Institute of Healthy Ageing to establish a new research health fellowship in rehabilitation medicine.

The Bupa Fellow in Rehabilitation Medicine will be employed as a full time Senior Medical Officer within Waikato DHB but also retain a close relationship with the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.

The three year fellowship will explore ways to enhance existing rehabilitation services, as well as how those services fit in with the patient’s overall care.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman described the new fellowship as “a positive step towards gaining a greater insight into this important area of care”.

“We want those who need rehabilitation following a stroke or an accident to get the care and support they need so they can live longer healthier lives away from hospitals. To achieve this we need to ensure we are using an evidence based approach.”

Grainne Moss, managing director of Bupa Care Services, says the fellowship is a good fit with Bupa’s values and purposes. She says there is so much good research that doesn’t get implemented, and the new fellowship represents a departure from that.

Moss thinks the Institute of Healthy Ageing provides the ideal framework for the new fellowship, especially given its strong governance structure and resources. She is a member of its governance group.

The institute is a collaboration between Waikato DHB, and the universities of Auckland and Waikao. It was launched a year ago by Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, and takes a cross-sector approach to developing services that meet the increasing needs of people as they age. It has a strong focus on translational and applied research. At this stage the institute remains a regional initiative, however over time it is envisaged it could take a more national role in research and governance in the area of healthy ageing.

The Bupa Fellow in Rehabilitation Medicine will receive $360,000 over three years towards research costs and a further $360,000 over the same period towards doing clinical practice. Funding for the fellowship is to be equally split between Bupa and Waikato DHB.

Waikato DHB has released a request for expressions of interest in the fellowship.

Moss confirms that a few New Zealand-based researchers have expressed an interest already, although the position is open to researchers around the world. Moss suspects it may be a challenge to find the right person, given the difficulty sometimes experienced in recruiting overseas researchers.

Moss says they are interested to see how the fellowship pans out. If it is successful they may look to replicate it over time.

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