• AMRF

Including asthmatic children in their own health decisions

Asthma affects one in seven New Zealand children, and is a leading cause of hospital admissions. New research will help understand how to better support children with asthma, as they frequently find themselves administering their own medicines, avoiding triggers, and making decisions about symptom management.


Dr Julie Spray is returning to New Zealand from a postdoctoral role in the USA to take up an academic position in the Department of Social and Community Health at The University of Auckland.


With support from the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Dr Spray will establish a research programme investigating children’s participation in their health and, in line with article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, advocating for greater inclusion of children's perspectives in health matters that affect them.


AMRF is pleased to support Dr Spray with a Sir Harcourt Caughey Award to supplement her Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, enabling her to undertake this research full-time.


Dr Spray has previously studied this issue in school and household contexts and will now expand her focus to include clinical care providers and their encounters with children, to understand how the policies, systems and power structures of medicine shape children’s participation in their care.

"The overarching aim of this research is to understand how medical practitioners, families and children conceptualise and negotiate children’s participation in, and responsibility for, asthma management. This project supports me to build partnership and community relationships and networks that will be foundational to future research addressing children’s health."

With goals of translating theoretical insights into policy, service delivery, and interventions, she wants her research contribution to help advocates more effectively support children and positively influence the decisions that shape their lives.


"I am so grateful to AMRF donors for this funding that supports my transition back to Auckland."