Celebrating 50 years of our Faculty

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Merryn writes…

Last night I was invited to contribute to one in a series of lectures being held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. The aim was to showcase the breadth of cancer-related research being undertaken across the Faculty and I certainly learned a lot. It was truly humbling to hear from the likes of  Bill Denny and Bruce Baguley whose 50+ year careers have helped change the nature of cancer treatment in NZ and internationally.  Cris Print translated the complex world of genomics into something even this social scientist could understand (well mostly!). And any mention of social justice endears a researcher to the Te Arai group, so it was also great to hear Cris mention the potential role of genomics in reducing current inequities in access to cancer treatment.

Talking about death I was, as is often the case, on last. Not wanting to send everyone back out into a cold, rainy, Auckland evening in low spirits, I tried to focus upon something positive. Namely, the impact our research is having in many areas: from policy and service development, to the experiences of individual service users and communities. I also (briefly) got to make a political point. Only a tiny proportion of cancer research funding finds it’s way to studies exploring palliative care. And that as mortality rates remain at 100% despite my colleagues sterling efforts, maybe this needs a bit of rethinking…..

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