Pokhara, Nepal, a remote, low-income community affected by poverty, geopolitical challenges and devastating natural disasters continues to inspire the work of Professor Ian Bissett, the Director of the Indigenous and Global Surgery Group at the STaR Centre.
Ian’s extraordinary journey from sports star at Auckland Grammar, to General Surgeon, to missionary surgeon to academic Colorectal surgeon illustrates his dedication to save lives and undertake innovative research in surgical diseases. Ian and his family spent a decade in Nepal from the 80s and he still visits Nepal annually to operate and teach local surgeons and staff. Now, back home in Auckland, his service to the community continues as Chair of the New Zealand National Bowel Cancer Working Group.
More recently, you will find Professor Bissett working as a colorectal surgeon at Auckland City Hospital and undertaking world leading research with the STaR Centre. The STaR Centre, has a mission to “Harness the power of science, engineering and surgery to address the global burden of surgical disease.”
While their mission is global, they acknowledge the importance of engaging our own indigenous communities to improve the wellbeing/hauora here in Aotearoa. Engagement with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, kicked off earlier this year with a hui, guided by STaR Centre’s Director of Kaupapa Māori, Mr Fred Astle. The conversation focused on the problems of bowel cancer and faecal incontinence for Māori took place and included personal narratives by affected Māori community members. There was a real sense that these issues are important to Māori but have seldom been addressed. There is a strong commitment by STaR Centre to pave a way forward to carry out research that delivers meaningful impact to Māori.
The Surgical and Transitional Research (STaR) Centre, led by Director Professor John Windsor, was established in 2018 to uniquely promote translational, multidisciplinary and collaborative research addressing surgical disease. Our research platforms combine the disciplines of molecular science, engineering science, clinical science and population science. It integrates New Zealand’s leading research units and surgical laboratories to deliver world leading research and medical technology to positively impact our communities, clinical services and industry. We invite academics, clinicians, and industry to contact us to explore new opportunities.