This last month has been a pivotal one for New Zealanders for Health Research, with a number of key highlights.

Our travelling roadshow networking events in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch have been a real hit, and we were excited to have shared some of the results from our Roy Morgan opinion poll. Respondents ranked more funding for health and medical research as no 6 out of twenty six potential government priorities, with improving hospitals and the health care system coming in at number one and increasing preventative healthcare funding and programmes at number ten. It’s very encouraging to know that the New Zealand public and New Zealanders for Health Research care about those same issues where we are seeking to make a difference.

Please get in touch if you’d like either an electronic or hard copy of the report, or take a look at it on our new website which is now live .

New Zealand’s first ever health research strategy is currently being developed and New Zealanders for Health Research is keen to have an influence on its final form. We’ve met with officials from the Ministries of Health and Business Innovation and Employment who are leading the strategy’s development and they’re very interested in delving deeper into the poll results so that the strategy is as informed as possible by what the New Zealand public thinks. We have also written to their respective ministers, associate ministers and ministry chief executives to formally introduce ourselves, flag our interest in contributing to the the strategy and to give them a copy of the report.

And last but not least there has been a changing of the guard, with Michelle Sullivan having stepped down from the role of Chief Executive as from 2ndSeptember, and my fully picking up the reins from 5th September. I’d like to pay tribute to the huge contribution Michelle has made in establishing New Zealanders for Health Research resulting in its formal incorporation in November 2015, seeing us through the first Polling exercise and getting the back of house functions  established. She’s been a fabulous mentor over the last three weeks and we wish her well for the future.

My many years experience in senior leadership roles in DHBs and the not-for-profit health and disability sector, together with my background in and passion for health research, will, I expect, equip me to lead New Zealanders for Health Research into a future where health and medical research becomes increasingly valued and recognised for the impact it can make on improving New Zealanders’ health and prosperity. I feel truly honoured and excited to have been selected for the role.

At the travelling roadshow events I was privileged to have met many people from the research, philanthropy, patient advocacy and pharmaceutical industry sectors. Thanks for coming along and supporting us (some of you are in the shots below from the Auckland and Wellington events).  Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting others who are interested in being part of the New Zealanders for Health Research Alliance as we seek to have many more members engaged in the journey.

Chris Higgins
Chief Executive
[email protected]