First grads awarded MRINZ MD degree

December 2017

Professor Richard Bedford, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, presents Dr Sarah Jefferies with her Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Sarah won the Fukuchi award for best Respirology paper in 2016 for her thesis on the effect of paracetamol in the treatment of influenza infection. Photo: MRINZ

Providing a base for specialist training in medical research is a key priority of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ). In 2012, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority registered the MRINZ as a private training establishment, and in 2013 the Institute was accredited to award the Medical Doctorate (MD) research degree. On 2 November 2017, the MRINZ had its inaugural MD graduation ceremony, in which three graduands were awarded an MD Degree.

Professor Richard Bedford, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, presented the degrees. One of the graduands Dr Sarah Jefferies won the Fukuchi award for best Respirology paper in 2016 for her thesis on the effect of paracetamol in the treatment of influenza infection. This novel research has challenged the current paradigm of treating fever associated with respiratory infections such as influenza. The other graduands were Dr Irene Braithwaite and Dr Janine Pilcher.

This graduation was an important event for the Institute, not only reflecting its position as an internationally recognised medical research institute, but also its strong track record in postgraduate medical training, primarily supervising doctors in PhDs at Victoria University in Wellington. 

The purpose of the MD degree is to train doctors in clinical research, in particular junior doctors in specialist training.  It enhances their opportunities to pursue academic research-based medical careers as independent clinician researchers and as a result increase New Zealand’s workforce capacity in this field.

The MD degree directly addresses the key recommendation of the Health Committee Report, that clinical research should be established as a core activity undertaken by DHBs.  The Committee proposed that to achieve this goal, novel clinical research training opportunities need to be provided.  The qualification also directly addresses one of the key priorities of the Health Research Council, to build and maintain research capacity and capability by supporting targeted career development pathways.

Please click the following link for more information about the MRINZ Doctor Of Medicine (MD) Programme.