New research projects for long-term health conditions

Press Release – Healthier Lives National Science Challenge

New research projects for long-term health conditions

Healthier Lives Director Professor Jim Mann is delighted with today’s announcement of $2.3 million for two new research projects, one that focuses on interventions for prediabetes in Pacific communities, and the other on integrated healthcare for people with multiple chronic conditions.

The Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) have joined forces to establish a funding pool of $7.9 million for research to tackle long-term chronic health conditions. The funding announced today is in addition to February’s announcement to provide more than $5.7 million for diabetes research through the long-term conditions partnership.

“Healthier Lives is undertaking research that will significantly advance personalised approaches to health in New Zealand” says Professor Mann. “In the future, individuals, groups, and communities will receive health preventions and treatments specifically tailored for them.”

“Healthier Lives is employing innovative and world-leading research methodologies, such as co-designing research with Māori and Pacific communities, to ensure that the results of our research will have enduring benefits for the communities most affected by high rates of chronic diseases.”

The research announced today will take this work forward.

“These new projects align perfectly with Healthier Lives’ work to reduce inequities in health outcomes by finding the right preventions and treatments to work for individuals and groups in our community,” says Professor Mann.

Massey University research fellow Dr Ridvan (Riz) Firestone has received almost $1 million to develop and put into practice over 36 months a Pacific community-based intervention programme to reduce prediabetes (the precursor to diabetes). Dr Firestone’s study will establish a Pasifika prediabetes youth empowerment programme involving Pacific youth (15–24 years old) from community groups in South Waikato and Auckland.

Dr Michael Epton, Director of the Canterbury Respiratory Research Group at Christchurch Hospital, has received just over $1 million for a 24-month study that will address New Zealand’s low referral and attendance rates for rehabilitation programmes for people with multiple long-term conditions (LTCs), such as diabetes, heart failure, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As New Zealand’s population ages, there is an increasing number of people living with more than one long term condition.

“Rather than developing new disease-specific interventions, we’ll work together with communities to develop and try initiatives that help people with multiple long term conditions access community support, increase their sense of connectedness within their community, improve physical activity, and thus live lives they feel are fulfilling and worthwhile,” says Dr Epton.

For background and more detail on the projects:

• HRC media release More funding for long term health conditions

• Government media release about LTC funding $5.7m for research into diabetes management, 9 Feb 2017

• Healthier Lives February news story about Long-Term Conditions funding: Multi-million dollar funding collaboration to improve long term health condition, February 2017
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