Innovative Research Is Key to the Region's Health

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Innovative Research Is Key to the Region's Health


Medicine at Durham University is pioneering the training of tomorrow's doctors on Teesside, but this is just one vital aspect of the university's rapidly expanding School for Health.

Based at the Queen's Campus, Stockton, the School for Health has a growing number of researchers engaged in fields as far- ranging as diabetes to hospital design.

Heading up the team is Professor Pali Hungin, who became Dean of Medicine earlier this year.

He took up the post after 23 years as a GP at the Eaglescliffe Medical Centre.

And he says the school is now building a significant presence in health of local, national and international importance.

"It's very exciting to see how the School for Health has developed so vigorously in such a short space of time. But really it's only just the start."

The university now has 190 medical students based at Stockton on its medical programme.

The five-year MBBS degree is a new joint venture with the University of Newcastle, with students spending the initial two years at the Queen's Campus before moving on with the University of Newcastle to complete their final three years of clinical training in a wide range of NHS hospital and general practices across the region.

"But undergraduate medical training is just one part of what we do," added Professor Hungin.

"We now have a strong research base looking at a whole range of issues relating to health.

"Our work ranges from bio-medical laboratory work up to community work ascertaining the effect the arts have on patients' well-being."

The Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine is currently working on a project at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Working with architects, researchers are looking at how the hospital's new-look interior is making a difference to patients and staff.

The School's Centre for Public Policy and Health is also researching a wide range of areas including resource efficiency and quality of care.

The Queen's Campus is also home to the North-East Public Health Observatory, which collates information and monitors health and disease trends which provide a detailed view of health in the region and beyond.

Many people already working in the NHS are now teaming up with the university to continue their training.

PhD research work is being carried out in a number of key areas including diabetes and heart disease.

"Our hospitals and practices can be amongst the best in the world in terms of innovation," said Professor Hungin. …

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