Troy Ruhe (Mauke, Ngāpuhi, Tūwharetoa), BPhEd(Hons), PhD. For research which positively impacts Pacific communities.
Passionate about bringing indigenous ways of knowing into mainstream research, Troy has worked in health promotion and as a physical activity specialist in the Pacific region. His postdoctoral research at Va'a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health focusses on identifying factors associated with health outcomes for Pacific children in Aotearoa.
What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?
I was very humbled to have been nominated, as all my successes and fortune are a product of my immensely supportive communities. This award is also a recognition of all those who allow me this privilege to learn and continue to tell our stories.
What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Va'a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health at the University of Otago. My research uses Big Data to identify factors associated with health outcomes for Pacific children in Aotearoa.
During my PhD I worked in health promotion with Te Marae Ora (Cook Islands Ministry of Health), developing a non-communicable disease physical activity strategy. I also worked for the Cook Islands Sport and National Olympic Committee, creating the nation's first physical activity policy, as well as being the Pacific region's physical activity specialist for World Health Organisation funded projects.
What inspires and motivates you to work in the areas you are involved with?
I want the generations after this one to be OK. I am truly passionate about bringing indigenous ways of knowing and interacting with the world into the mainstream of research. I believe that inequities in health for our Pacific and Māori peoples will continue to exist if the methods of implementation are not reflective of our worldviews. So many have paved the way before me and made leaps and bounds, I feel a responsibility to ensure that I use any gifts bestowed within me for the better.
What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it helped you in your career and following your interests?
My highlights include working in the EXPINKT™ breast cancer clinic, working with Māori and Pacific communities and being introduced to the world of research. Each of these opportunities gave me a sense of belonging and purpose, which continues to drive me everyday.