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A spotlight on research

14 February 2021

In her role as Dean of Research at RANZCOG, FRANZCOG Professor Cindy Farquhar is responsible for leading the College’s strategic commitment to strengthen evidence-based clinical guidelines and statements in women’s health across Australia and New Zealand.

Reflecting on her time since being appointed to the role late last year, Auckland-based Cindy says: “It’s been an interesting time, especially with COVID. Yes, there have been a lot of Zoom meetings, but we are all learning and doing things differently.

“I am excited about the role, and look forward to collaborating with College staff and colleagues across New Zealand and Australia.”

Biography

Cindy is the Postgraduate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Auckland. Her research interests include clinical trials within subfertility and menstrual disorders, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines and quality improvement. She has close affiliations with the Cochrane Library having led the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group since its inception in 1996. Cindy is Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility, and she is also Senior Editor, Cochrane Abdomen and Endocrine Network.

She was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year’s Honours for contribution to women’s health, and in 2019, was awarded the Research Excellence Medal of the University of Auckland. She has over 300 peer reviewed publications and twenty technical reports.

“I felt that you could really make a difference to people with regard to reproductive health,” Cindy says when asked why she chose to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynaecology. “I found the first year of being a junior doctor so hard that I thought about working outside the hospital system – in primary care or something – but then somebody gave me some good feedback and that turned me around.”

Research

A move to the UK at the start of her career was the beginning of Cindy’s venture into research. She pays tribute to Professor Michael Chapman, who was made a Member (AM) in the General Division in this year’s Australia Day Honours, for his guidance and encouragement during her time in the UK. “As my consultant, Michael encouraged me to go to a conference – in those times conferences were mostly for the consultants and not for the trainees – and that inspired me,” she says. “For me, I have always been that inquisitive person, asking questions and looking for answers. I think it is a brilliant combination doing clinical work alongside research; it makes for an interesting and satisfying career.”

Cindy says she welcomes the College’s embrace of research. “The role is about taking evidence from well-designed research and applying it every day with patients.”

And her advice to trainees about the importance of research? “If you get an opportunity, dedicated time to do research in your training, just grab it and value it. You will probably never get that opportunity again as a consultant.”




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