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John has been involved in injury prevention research since 1978. His initial research focused on the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a longitudinal study of the health and development of a thousand children. Research based on that study formed the basis for his PhD from the University of Otago, conferred in 1985. In 1987 Dr Elizabeth McLouglin and he were commissioned by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to undertake a major review of injury prevention research in New Zealand. The recommendations in that review have played a key part in the development of injury prevention research in New Zealand.


With Associate Professor David Chalmers, he was successful in tendering to HRC and ACC for the establishment of the Injury Prevention Research Unit (IPRU). He has been the Director since its inception in 1990. The IPRU has been a focal point for injury prevention research in New Zealand ever since.

John has published more than 150 refereed papers plus numerous other publications dealing with a wide range of prevention issues including: childhood injury, motor vehicle traffic crashes, suicide, injury to Maori, injury surveillance, firearm injury, fireworks, assault, burns, drowning, and work related injury. He has been a strong advocate for legislative, policy, and practice changes aimed at reducing injury in these and other areas.

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