New Chair in Neurosurgery Will Secure Services for Future

Press Release – Neurological Foundation

New Chair in Neurosurgery Will Secure Services for Future The public campaign to fund the head of New Zealand’s first academic neurosurgery unit, based at Otago University, was launched today in Dunedin. The Neurological Foundation Chair in Neurosurgery …New Chair in Neurosurgery Will Secure Services for Future

The public campaign to fund the head of New Zealand’s first academic neurosurgery unit, based at Otago University, was launched today in Dunedin.

The Neurological Foundation Chair in Neurosurgery – a professorial position – will spend 50% of his or her time as a neurosurgeon at Dunedin Hospital serving Otago and Southland residents, and 50% on research and teaching.

Academic units already exist in Canada, USA, the UK, and Australia, and in 2010 an expert panel recommended the unit be established to ensure that New Zealand has a similar academic neurosurgical centre of excellence.

The unit will not only play an essential role in delivering neurosurgical services to the community, but will also add significant value to neurological research in New Zealand. Working alongside British neurosurgeon Reuben Johnson, announced late last year as senior lecturer for the unit, the professor will be supported to establish programmes in both laboratory and clinically-based research stemming from Otago, and bring collaborations with international peers.

Otago University Pro Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences, Peter Crampton says the Neurological Foundation Chair in Neurosurgery is a very exciting development for Otago and Southland – and the whole of the South Island.

“This position is a central component of the Dunedin hub of the South Island Neurosurgical Service. The new Chair will not only be a key member of the surgical team based in Dunedin, but will also lead world-class research into aspects of brain disease to increase our understanding of pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. The University is delighted and privileged to work with the Neurological Foundation and our community partners on this fundraising campaign.”

The Neurological Foundation – in conjunction with the University of Otago – has agreed to endow the Chair of Neurosurgery and aims to raise $3 million in a public campaign to fund the position in perpetuity. The Foundation is undertaking the campaign with support from business partners, the Otago Daily Times, the Southland Times and the ANZ/National Bank.

Every dollar raised by the Foundation for the campaign will go towards the cost of the Chair. All campaign overheads are being met by the various business and organisational partnerships, says Neurological Foundation Chief Executive Max Ritchie.

“This is an exciting step forward in the long-term campaign to ensure the South Island has a world-class service, with another highly trained neurosurgeon on the ground at Dunedin Hospital. But it’s also about us leading the research into neurological conditions – and the underlying neurosciences – that will mean we have better outcomes and real results for people suffering from neurological conditions in years to come.”

Dunedin-based campaign chair and former medical Superintendent at Dunedin and Wakari Hospitals Brian McMahon agrees.

“While the deep south of New Zealand is less populated, it is a major tourist Mecca, and, as such, it’s vital that residents and visitors alike have timely access to life saving neurosurgery. Neurosurgery had its New Zealand beginnings in Dunedin – and we’re proud of that history.”

So far, the campaign has secured over $500,000 in donations and grants, including a generous $300,000 contribution from the Basic Science Medical Trust – and $100,000 each from the Neurological Foundation and Otago University.

Public donations can be made online at www.chairofneurosurgery.org.nz, or at any National Bank or ANZ branch.

ENDS

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