He waka eke noa

Better Together

Research excellence for healthy tamariki

A Better Start’s annual symposium, research excellence for healthy tamariki, was held on

10 October 2022 in Wellington.

The symposium is always a highlight of A Better Start’s calendar as it provides the opportunity to bring our research teams together in-person, but this year particularly after the disruptions of Covid-19 was truly special. “We missed that face-to-face collaboration and connection terribly, and it was great to be with our colleagues and share the progress about the different mahi we are doing to benefit our tamariki.”  said Wayne Cutfield Director of, A Better Start.

The  Challenge has begun the last few years of it’s mission to bring together the research that will contribute to happy, healthy and successful lives, and there are currently more than 160 researchers engaged with A Better Start projects.

Our three health related themes – Healthy Weight, Resilient Teens and Successful Learning and Literacy – and the underpinning Big Data approach, have continued to make significant progress.

The symposium allowed researchers to share the momentum they’re gaining with their specific projects and contribute their insights and questions to the Challenge research ensuring it’s high quality and ability to make a meaningful difference to tamariki throughout Aotearoa.

Click on the image below to scroll through the pictures from the day

Dr Barry Taylor & Dr Robyn Mildon 2022 A Better Start Symposium

A Better Start Deputy Director, Prof Barry Taylor & Keynote Speaker Dr Robyn Mildon

Dr Barry Taylor & Dr Robyn Mildon 2022 A Better Start Symposium

A Better Start Deputy Director Prof Barry Taylor, Deputy Director Prof Gail Gillon & Director Prof Wayne Cutfield

Better Start Nov 2022 Implementation Science: Building the bridge between science, policy and practice – (click to view presentation)

Keynote Speaker – Dr Robyn Mildon

Robyn Mildon, PhD, is an internationally recognised figure in the field of implementation science, evidence synthesis and knowledge translation, and program and policy evaluations in health, education and human services.

She is the Founding CEO of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI www.ceiglobal.org), a global social purpose organisation whose work now spans across 8 countries. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, a Visiting Associate Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, and Co-Director of the recently established Behavioural and Implementation Science Interventions (BISI), National University of Singapore.

Over her career, Robyn’s work has helped to advance the implementation of better evidence in policy and practice settings, improving the quality and effectiveness of health, education and human services. She has authored or co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications, commissioned evidence reviews and book chapters including being a co-author of an edited book Implementation Science 3.0 (Springer, 2020).

In 2022 she was awarded the John Westbrook Award for Contributions to Knowledge Translation by the Campbell Collaboration. This international award recognises outstanding contributions to knowledge translation and the dissemination and implementation of evidence.

Robyn was the founding Chair of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Australasian Implementation Conference (AIC) was the Co-Chair for the 2018 Global Evidence and Implementation Conference and was the Chair for the Evidence and Implementation Summit, March 2021 www.eisummit.org

Implementation Science: Building the bridge between science, policy and practice - (click to listen to the presentation)

Opening Address – (click above to listen to audio)

Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

We were honoured to have Dr Verrall join us and speak on the day.  Her opening address was interesting, informative and referred back to by presenters and attendees throughout the day.  We particularly appreciated Dr Verrall’s openness to questions on a wide range of topics under her purview and her considered and thoughtful answers in response. She added great value and knowledge to the day with her perspective of the challenges facing tamariki, and the future for research in Aotearoa in the future.

Dr Ayesha Verrall is the Minister for COVID-19 Response, Minister for Research, Science and Innovation, and Minister for Seniors. She is also the Associate Minister of Health.

Ayesha is an infectious diseases doctor. She is passionate about preventing illness so that every New Zealander can enjoy good health and live a free and full life. Ayesha is a Labour list MP from Wellington, and has previously been the Minister for Food Safety.

Ayesha grew up in Te Anau. She attended medical school at the University of Otago and worked as a junior doctor at Wellington hospital. Ayesha completed her specialist training in Singapore and researched tuberculosis in Indonesia.

In 2019 Ayesha was elected to the Capital and Coast District Health Board on a Labour ticket. She is an expert on vaccines, tuberculosis and COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic response, Ayesha was instrumental in efforts to improve New Zealand’s contact tracing

Speaker Presentations

VIEW PRESENTATION Strategic Project: Word Learning Professor Brigid McNeill

VIEW PRESENTATION Strategic Project: Big Data for a Better Start Dr Barry Milne

VIEW PRESENTATION Cure Kids / A Better Start Contestable Project:  Fish Oil in Pregnancy Dr Ben Albert

VIEW PRESENTATION Cure Kids / A Better Start Contestable Project: Building Resilience in young people through sensing technology Dr Rosie Dobson 

VIEW PRESENTATION Leva: Supporting Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential Denise Kingi-’Ulu’ave, CEO Leva

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