The Department of Women's and Children's Health maintains a strong emphasis on research that can be directly applied to clinical practice.
Perhaps the most remarkable historical example of this is the leadership given by members of the Department into epidemiological studies aimed at investigating the underpinnings of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome during the 1980s and 1990s.
This strong clinical focus is continued currently by groups investigating questions pertaining to sleep disorders, obesity, clinical pharmacology, clinical genetics, child and youth epidemiology, bioethics, incontinence, infertility and family violence. The quality of the research is reflected in the national leadership the Department holds in some areas, for example, the curatorship of the National Mortality Review Database, which directly informs policy at national and local levels of Government and health service provision.
Within the Department there are diverse but interconnected research interests. Collaborations extend beyond Departmental boundaries to include active joint investigations with multiple other Departments within the Dunedin School of Medicine and the wider University. Strong international collaborations are established with overseas groups, most notably in the area of obesity, clinical genetics and urogynaecology. Central to the productivity of these collaborations is the continued availability of schemes to fund pilot research projects and to convene collaborative colloquia to progress research interests.
The Department places a high priority on the participation of clinical and non-clinical students at all levels of training in their research endeavours. A consistently high number of summer students study each year in the Department. The continued provision of quality tuition at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels is closely related to the health and vitality of research within the Department.