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Newsletter #1                                      June 2016
Contents:
Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter series from the Healthier Lives - He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge, which coincides with the launch of our website today.
Challenge launch at Ōtākou Marae 
Healthier Lives was launched by the Hon Stephen Joyce in the beautiful surroundings of the Ōtākou Marae in December 2015.  It was a really enjoyable gathering of people from across the country and was followed by lunch with healthy and delicious kai prepared by Kate Dempsey and her team from the Marae. 

Having our launch on the
Ōtākou Marae was an appropriate and moving experience given that it was one of the sites in the South Island where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840.  The launch provided a fitting occasion to affirm the commitment of Healthier Lives to work towards achieving equity in health outcomes and to help bring about our vision of ‘healthier lives for all New Zealanders’.
Left to right: Prof Jim Mann (Healthier Lives Director), Margie Apa (Healthier Lives Governance Group member), Tuari Potiki (Ōtākou Rūnanga), Prof Richard Blaikie (University of Otago), Donna Matahaere (Chair, Ōtākou Rūnanga), Tamati Olsen (Maori Economic Development Unit, MBIE), the Hon Stephen Joyce, Prof Jim Metson (Chief Science Adviser, MBIE)
Getting started with research
Recent data from the WHO Global Burden of Disease Study provides yet another reminder as to just how important the diseases within our remit (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity) have become as lifespans have increasedThe potential consequences for the economy and society as a whole are immense.

Healthier Lives has funded five major research projects, developed in consultation with stakeholders, which are now underway:
  • Supporting healthy lifestyles: a Māori and Pasifika mHealth approach
  • Circulating tumour DNA for better cancer management in New Zealand
  • Equitable CVD and diabetes risk prediction: better cardiovascular and diabetes outcomes in Māori, Pacific and Indian subcontinent ethnic groups
  • He Pikinga Waiora: making health interventions work for Māori communities
  • Virtual Health Information Network: capitalising on New Zealand’s health data.
Information relating to each of them is available on our website.  The website also provides details of the ways we are planning to tackle our mission.
Contestable funding round
A contestable funding round planned for later this year will provide the opportunity to fund diabetes-related research and, in particular, to examine further the means of slowing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes.

Our next newsletter will contain details of the contestable funding round.   We are currently exploring the possibility of a partnership arrangement, which will enable far greater and more wide ranging research opportunities than would otherwise be possible.
Challenge leadership 
Two Deputy Directors have recently been appointed to assist in leadership of the Challenge: Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu (University of Auckland) and Prof Parry Guilford (University of Otago).  Their work represents the twin elements of Healthier Lives’ mission – prevention and treatment.
Healthier Lives leadership team: Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Prof Parry Guilford, Prof Jim Mann
Together with our Governance Group, chaired by Dr Jenny McMahon, and our Science Leadership Team, the Challenge is ably guided and supported.  We are currently in the process of establishing He Oranga Hauora Kāhui Māori to provide us with the advice and guidance that will be critical to support the Challenge’s efforts to reduce health inequalities.  Further information about the people involved in the Challenge is available on our website.
Members of the Healthier Lives Science Leadership team at our launch: Dr Rinki Murphy, Prof Tony Blakely, Dr Donia Macartney-Coxson, Maui Hudson, Prof Jim Mann, Prof Parry Guilford, Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Prof Peter Shepherd, Prof Vicki Cameron, Dr Ofa Dewes. (Absent: Prof Catherine Day, Prof Rod Dunbar, Dr Matire Harwood, A/Prof Jeremy Krebs, Prof Cris Print)
Upcoming events 
Details of the Healthier Lives Colloquium to be held in Wellington on Tuesday 18 October 2016 will be available soon.  Please save this date if you are interested in hearing more about our work and joining a conversation about how to tackle the burden of major diseases in New Zealand.
    
A symposium relating to a range of key and controversial issues around diabetes and obesity will take place in Auckland on Friday 17 March 2017 in collaboration with A Better Start National Science Challenge and the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre. 
Working together 
Developing closer relationships with our stakeholders will be a major focus of activity over the next year.  You have received this newsletter because you have already had some engagement with Healthier Lives and we’re keen to keep you informed about our activities.   Please forward it to others who may be interested in subscribing to receive future updates, including details about our contestable funding round.

You can find out a lot more about Healthier Lives on our website at: https://healthierlives.co.nz/.

I welcome your feedback on the website or any other aspect of the Challenge.  And I look forward to talking with many of you over the coming year about how we can work together to reduce the burden of major diseases in New Zealand.

Nāku, nā
Jim Mann
Director, Healthier Lives National Science Challenge
Healthier Lives - He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge is hosted by the University of Otago and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Challenge partners are AgResearch, Auckland University of Technology, ESR, Malaghan Institute, Massey University, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, and University of Waikato.
www.healthierlives.co.nz
healthier.lives@otago.ac.nz
Copyright © 2016 Healthier Lives - He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge, All rights reserved.


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