Michael Barnes

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Orthopaedic surgeon Michael Barnes is chair of the Wishbone Foundation’s Orthopaedic Research Committee 

Orthopaedic surgeon Michael Barnes is chair of the Wishbone Foundation Orthopaedic Research Committee (ORC). Michael has a private practice in Auckland and assists with the regional spinal cord injury service at Middlemore Hospital. He established the scoliosis service at Starship Hospital which he led for many years. He is a past chair of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association (NZOA) Education Committee and sits on the NZOA council as editorial secretary.”

Mr Barnes says he became involved in the research committee because it gave him a chance to contribute to the promotion and quality of orthopaedic research, and advancing and modifying day-to-day practice.

“When I was chair of NZOA’s Education Committee about 10 years ago we tried quite hard to raise the standard of registrar research and my current role with the research committee follows on from that a bit. Some of the people who completed PhDs back then are now very active in orthopaedic research.”

He says, more than anything, research puts New Zealand orthopaedics on the map.

“This has spin offs in terms of our younger surgeons getting training posts overseas. And some of the better-quality research is presented at international meetings.”

He says his vision is for the research committee to keep funding better and better studies.

“One of the big positives about orthopaedic clinical research in New Zealand is that we have one association; one training programme. We are a reasonably tight knit group and because we all know each other and work in a fairly similar way, there’s opportunity for collaboration between various centres to produce really good quality clinical research.”

He says the research committee has a focus on raising the bar towards the gold standard of multi-centre randomised controlled trials.

“We are now starting to see some of those studies coming through. At the same time, we continue to encourage registrars at grass roots level to get involved with research.”