FNU launches HDR programs

WHO Representative Dr Wendy Snowdon (with garland) with staff and students of FNU's CMNHS. Picture: FNU/SUPPLIED.

Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) launched its Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs and welcomed eight pioneer HDR candidates on Thursday.

According to a statement by the university, HDR programs across all FNU colleges are managed by the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor Research, and at CMNHS, they will be administered by the Associate Dean Research, Dr Donald Wilson and his team at the Fiji Institute of Pacific Health Research (FIPHR), which is the Research arm of the College.

Speaking at the launch, chief guest, Team Coordinator Pacific NCDs and Health through the Lifecourse at World Health Organisation (WHO), Division of Pacific Technical Support, Dr Wendy Snowdon acknowledged the work done by FNU and the College in establishing the HDR programs.

Dr Snowdon said HDR programs encourage the development of independent research skills in candidates.

“These skills include the ability to formulate a significant research problem, the ability to relate the research to the broader framework of knowledge in the area, and the mastery of appropriate skills to tackle the problem.”

“Having HDR programs available here in Fiji will have significant benefits in building research capacity and new knowledge in health.”

According to Dr Snowdon, research is indispensable for resolving public health challenges – whether it be tackling diseases of poverty, responding to rise of chronic diseases, or ensuring that mothers have access to safe delivery practices.

She highlighted that globally there are significant disparities between countries in the number of researchers per million inhabitants.

“Without researchers, countries will be challenged in understanding their health problems and their drivers and seeking locally-relevant solutions.”

“It is important to consider that research does not have to be just driven by full-time researchers, but also by practitioners incorporating some research into their practice.”

“However, it is critical that approaches are high quality, ethically sound and locally relevant,” said Dr Snowdon.


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