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Tanzania Research Chairs named Special

By Neema Tele     Sep 9, 2013 in Health
Dar Es Salaam - Interdisciplinary collaboration has been at watchword in post secondary institutions for years, but no-one's been taking notes on why - or if - it works, says Muhimbili university researcher Dr. Anne Mkama.
"At the moment. I'd describe it that it's almost to the point of being a fad," said Mkama, yesterday named Tanzania Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Teams. "There's actually very little evidence on how to work together in teams across disciplines. What tends to happen is people try to put interdisciplinary teams together, and if they work, that's great, but if they don't work, there's very little attempt to understand why."
There's a big difference between doing interdisciplinary research and providing interdisciplinary health care, said Mkama, a professor in the Faculty of Nursing, Muhimbili university.'The fact Is that care is interdisciplinary. No discipline can function in isolation in health care, but how well that works is the question," she said. "If it's working well, ideally, what it should mean is well- coordinated care, with little need for the patient and their family to try and figure out and navigate the system of care."
Mkama is one of five Muhimbili university professors to be named Tanzania Research Chairs this week, and one of 89 researchers from across Tanzania to earn the title. "I'm interested in understanding why we see such a variety of wood structure in plants," she said. "The mechanism of water transport in trees is quite unusual. It depends on negative water pressure, which Is equivalent to tension. The water in a tree is under great tension and that comes from water being pulled out of the leaves into the atmosphere, while water in the soil is also held by the soil particles."
"Holding the chair makes a difference because it provides a profile, not only for the public, but also for trainees to come into the lab, to attract the best of the best," said Wilson Nestori, who has been re-appointed to the chair and has received $1.4 million for her research on understanding how aging and hormones affect the function of the heart and blood vessels in women. "Success builds on success and this kind of support really does play a role in attraction and retention of the best and brightest."
"We're focused on the cardiovascular health of women through their lifespan - the effect of aging, the effects on the cardiovascular system during pregnancy and what Is involved in normal adaptations to pregnancy," he said."Pregnancy is a fascinating condition. A woman will have a 50-per-cent increase in blood volume, but actually have a drop in blood pressure."
The cardiovascular health of a woman during pregnancy will not only affect her cardiovascular health as she ages, but also the cardiovascular health of her child as it grows into adulthood, Nestori said."The Tanzania Foundation for Innovation and Tanzania Research Chairs Program supports the Muhimbili university's vision and leadership in innovation and research," Wilson Nestori.
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