New Zealand Law Society - Otago researcher wins Harkness Fellowship

Otago researcher wins Harkness Fellowship

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Dr Jennifer Moore, from Otago University’s Law Faculty and the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, has won a prestigious Harkness Fellowship in Healthcare Policy and Practice.

As the recipient of the Commonwealth Fund-endowed Fellowship, Dr Moore will spend one year in the United States researching alternatives to medical malpractice, starting in August 2015.

Her multi-disciplinary research will aim to inform the design of communication-and-resolution programmes (CRPs) in the United States. Such CRPs seek to identify and disclose medical injuries, improve quality of care, and offer apology and compensation.

“The core of the research is the impact of compensation on the doctor-patient relationship. I will collect data in New Zealand and the United States to investigate the factors that harm or help the doctor-patient relationship after a medical injury,” Dr Moore says.

“There is speculation and anecdotal evidence that recent ACC medical injury case law in New Zealand is discouraging doctors from assisting their patients to make claims with ACC. This will be the first empirical health law study in New Zealand to investigate that. So the findings will be useful for ACC policymakers, providers and injured patients here too. The results of the study will contribute to health policy and law reform both here and in the United States.”

Dr Moore says it is perfect timing to perform this research because the Obama administration has shown a keen interest in CRPs. This year, the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated that it plans to continue developing CRPs, including an implementation toolkit and training modules. One major aim is for the research findings to inform these toolkits and modules, and the overall design of CRPs. “I have always wanted to work with the preeminent health law and policy scholars in the United States,” Dr Moore adds. “My proposed US mentors, Professor Michelle Mello and Professor David Studdert, are unquestionably two of the leading empirical and theoretical scholars in my proposed area of research. My proposed home-country mentors, Dr Marie Bismark and Professor Peter Crampton, are both Harkness alumni with outstanding track records in health policy research.

Dr Bismark and Dr Moore are among a small group of legal scholars who have been awarded Harkness Fellowships. Professor Ron Paterson and Dr Penny Andrew are among the others.

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