Request for Proposals for 2018 Precision Driven Health-HRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Partnership

Do you know a recent PhD graduate who is interested in Big Data and health? Precision Driven Health and HRC have formed a joint funding initiative and are taking applications for post-doctoral fellowships. Applications close 26 June. Full details can be found here.

Māori & European differences in mortality and socioeconomic position and smoking – Prof Tony Blakely, University of Otago

Here’s a great talk from Prof. Tony Blakely, University of Otago. In the first half Tony describes his research on Māori: European differences in mortality. In the second half of the talk (26:10 onwards) Tony discusses whether New Zealand’s analytical capacity and computing facilities are adequate to capitalise on the rich data opportunities we have here.

VHIN related research: Constructing whole of population cohorts using the IDI
An article about constructing population cohorts in the IDI, written by some VHIN members, has recently been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Click here to read the full article.

Big Data for Big Problems
The VHIN was profiled in depth as part of the University of Otago Research Highlights He Kitenga series, from its inception through the various affiliated organisations and projects.

Understanding Practice and Analysis of Integrated Data in the Stats NZ Datalab
This report, by Peter Ellis, scopes the needs and opportunities for information and analytical layers in the IDI, whilst also outlining the current approaches to analysis in the IDI and observations on the analytical environment.

Public Health Expert Blog
This blog describes the opportunities and challenges of the new data environment in New Zealand, focusing on how the VHIN can contribute to stronger health research and improve the health of New Zealanders. The initial post on the VHIN’s contribution can be seen here.


Older news

VHIN Intro to Health Research in the IDI Short Courses Success
We offered one-day short courses on conducting health research in the IDI in both the Public Health Summer School at the University of Otago, Wellington, and the February Programme of the NZ Social Statistics Network at the University of Auckland. Thanks to everyone who participated – we had around 40 attendees in Wellington and 14 in Auckland. Feedback was very positive. For those of you who missed out, we hope to hold the courses again! Please watch this space for updates.

Integrated Data Infrastructure Symposium
This was on 16 August 2017 at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, supported by the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA). It showcased a range of projects using the IDI to answer epidemiological questions on a range of topics, including cardiovascular disease, premature birth, and injuries. Presentations focused on the advantages and challenges of using the IDI, data sources used, and outcomes explored.

Virtual Diabetes Register December 2016 released and published
The Virtual Diabetes Register for December 2016 was released and published in May 2017, after improvements to the algorithm were made earlier that year. Please use these numbers until we notify you of further updates, or request an up to date data set from

COMPASS Research Centre Annual Colloquium
This was last held on 10 August 2017 at Grant Thornton House in Wellington. Another will be held around the same time in 2018 watch this space, and in the meantime, please feel free to tell your colleagues about the event. Attendance is always free, but spaces are limited.

Earthquakes, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
This presentation was given on 21 April 2017 at the University of Otago, Wellington, and drew on learnings from the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge’s research in the IDI. It discussed the impact of Canterbury earthquake damage on heart disease, and updated an earlier study on cancer prevalence, the productivity costs of heart disease, and protective factors against the progression of prediabetes to diabetes.

Statistics New Zealand IDI Forum
This was held on 26 April 2017 at the University of Otago, Wellington, based on the theme of collaborative research and creating an IDI researcher culture. The VHIN was high on the agenda, as was the Social Investment Unit, which has since been replaced by the Social Investment Agency.