Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu) from the University of Otago, Christchurch has been appointed to the Health Research Council’s Board and to the position of Chair on its Māori Health Committee, replacing Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, CNZM (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou).
Associate Professor Pitama is a registered psychologist who has been involved in Māori health research for more than 18 years. She is a keen advocate for kaupapa Māori-based methodologies and has interests in child mental health, Māori access to quality health services, and indigenous health curriculum development. She is Associate Dean Māori and Director of the Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI) at the University of Otago, Christchurch.
Associate Professor Pitama says she is honoured to be appointed to positions with the Health Research Council, particularly at an exciting time in the health research funders’ history as it undergoes an organisational ‘refresh’.
“I am really excited to be able to support the HRC’s direction in funding research responsive to Maori health. It will be great to contribute to research that helps improve Maori health gains and address current health inequities.”
Health Research Council Chief Executive Dr Kathryn McPherson says the HRC secretariat and our Board are looking forward to working more closely with Associate Professor Pitama given her new appointments.
“HRC’s contribution to building capacity and capability in Māori health research is nationally and internationally recognised as significant and important. We are enormously grateful to Professor Smith and others that have come before Associate Professor Pitama for their contribution and leadership. Much has been accomplished but there is of course more to be done and we are delighted at Associate Professor Pitama's appointment and greatly welcome her and the skills, experience and leadership she brings.”
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