April 19, 2021
Baker leads charge on public health challenge
A new five-year research programme looking for ways to reduce infectious diseases, long-term conditions, and poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand is being launched with a hui at Kokiri Marae in Lower Hutt today.
The Health Research Council-funded SYMBIOTIC programme is led by Professor Michael Baker from the University of Otago, Wellington, who has had a high profile in the public health response to COVID -19.
He says the successful elimination of COVID-19 transmission in Aotearoa has shown the value of aiming high with a combination of good science and good leadership.
The SYMBIOTIC programme takes a syndemic approach, which looks at clusters of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and how they can create bigger problems when combined with poverty, stress and inequalities.
.Senior Māori researcher Andrew Waa says destructive cycles can be broken by taking an integrated, whānau-centred approach, which is why the programme intends to ground its research within Māori experiences to help identify solutions for how infectious diseases and long-term conditions can be better managed by and with Māori communities.
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