New unit attracts medical talent
Victoria University, Otago School of Medicine and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand have joined with Capital & Coast District Health Board to establish a clinical trials unit at Wellington Hospital.
It will provide academic and administrative support to scientists and clinicians to carry out research projects in a clinical environment with in-patient beds, and a high-standard bio-medical laboratory.
Sarah McGill is Capital & Coast District Health Board ’s organisation development and patient safety director.
‘‘The longer term benefits are about developing good expertise and sharing expertise around research. Where there are established practises, we get a good reputation as a research institution,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a supportive environment for senior staff and other staff involved in research.’’
That also plays a part in attracting staff to the hospital because it can support their own research interests.
Unit charge nurse manage Lili Virosu said: ‘‘It’s a signal that the
PhD researcher Lisa Johnston, left, and Professor of Clinical Research Elaine Dennison. district health board research seriously.’’
Dr Kyle Perrin is heading the unit’s first research project, testing the effect of paracetamol on influenza infections.
He said the unit is massively beneficial in combining many
takes research facilities that were spread around Wellington, at Victoria University, on The Terrace and at the hospital.
Bringing them together allows collaborations that could only happen with people working together.
Professor Elaine Dennison has been recruited from the United Kingdom as professor of clinical research at the unit, jointly employed by Victoria University and Capital and Coast District Health Board.
She is a rheumatologist spec- ialising in epidemiology.
‘‘ If you join up biological scientists with clinicians you get added value,’’ she said.
Lisa Johnston is studying the effects of aspirin on different ethnic groups in thinning blood and moderating blood pressure.
Aspirin is known to be less effective in thinning the blood of Maori and Pacific Island people.
Her work is made possible because the unit has a sophisticated biomedical laboratory on site.