Being able to keep children safe and healthy in the community is critical in reducing pressure on hospitals. For this reason we invest in research, innovation and other health initiatives that seek to detect early, prevent hospitalisation and foster wellness.


Dr Michael Shepherd, Clinical Director Medical and Community, Starship Child Health explains that to keep our children healthier and safer in the community we have to figure out what works for the tamariki of Aotearoa in order to deliver more effective interventions. 

“Prevention is critically important for improving outcomes for child health. We know that kids get sick; we know that kids get injured; we know that kids get unwell and we can help them in Starship, but we can do so much more than that by preventing them from getting sick or injured in the first place.”


Starship Foundation funding has enabled Dr Carmen Basu to be embedded within Starship’s child protection service Te Puaruruhau. A fellowship allows this talented and committed specialist to do clinical work on the frontline with children who are victims of child abuse, as well as to undertake research work which seeks to ultimately turn around New Zealand’s poor world ranking in child abuse statistics.

Dr Basu also provides monthly training for nurses, doctors and midwives at Starship on how to identify abuse, and best ways of interacting with children so that their health needs are met promptly, safely and compassionately.




Child psychiatrist, paediatrician and e-health researcher at Starship and the University of Auckland, Dr Hiran Thabrew is passionate about the holistic wellbeing of our children. In his clinical work he strives to ensure the increased emotional needs of children with chronic and long-term illnesses are met. 

Dr Thabrew has been enabled, by the Starship Foundation, to lead the way in investigating and developing technology-based screening and therapy solutions to help detect psychosocial problems early, support treatment and promote mental wellbeing in our children and young people.

The recurrent themes through much of his work are about normalising the care of mental health alongside physical health, and innovating to meet the needs of children within an environment that they feel most comfortable. 

Meet Carmen and Hiran

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Dr Carmen Basu, Fellow, Te Puaruruhau, Starship Child Health together with Dr Hiran Thabrew, Child Psychiatrist and Paediatrician, Consult Liaison Service, Starship Child Health


New Zealand has been ranked the world’s third worst place for child deaths related to abusive injuries, and as a fellow in Te Puaruruhau, (the child protection service at Starship) Dr Carmen Basu’s drive is to turn that statistic around.

Independent reports following child deaths have highlighted that health professionals need to get better at sharing information.

“I have been given enough time and space to do a national research project. It is trying to place those children at the centre, and thinking about how health professionals can share information better to keep future children safe. We are analysing the best way possible to do that, and construct a really unique system that will work here in New Zealand.”

A PhD study titled ‘Starship Rescue’ earned Dr Hiran Thabrew the recognition and funding of the Athlae Lyon Starship Research Award for 2018.

“Starship Rescue is a game designed to treat anxiety in children and young people with chronic illness. It’s based on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy and is a fun way to deliver therapy to young people who are in hospital. It helps them learn about what anxiety is and skills to beat it. It also encourages them to go out of the game into the real world and tackle one or more of the anxieties that they are facing themselves.” Dr Hiran Thabrew, Child Psychiatrist and Paediatrician.