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Contact Details

Phone
+64 3 479 4328
Email
lama.tafunai@otago.ac.nz
Position
Senior Professional Practice Fellow
Qualifications
PhD MMedSc FRNZCGP RNZCGP
Research summary
Primary care, public health, and Pacific health

Research

Heavily engaged in research Dr Tafuna’i has undergone work in qualitative and quantitative methods in areas critical to Pacific health in Samoa in the primary care and public health space. Research undertaken through her Masters and PhD has piqued her interest in researching health systems, health policy, medical education, and health economics to help understand how to improve health services and pacific health outcomes in pacific island nations like Samoa.

Dr Tafuna’i is committed to ensuring findings are communicated back to the communities and countries that are being researched and in a way that improves health services and health outcomes.

Additional details

Otago alumni and New Zealand trained GP, Dr Malama Tafuna’i transitioned from her role as a health practitioner in Samoa to undergo her Masters in Medical Science and a PhD exploring the epidemiology of chronic kidney disease in Samoa and amongst Samoans living in Auckland to better understand the burden of chronic kidney disease on Samoan people.

Dr Tafuna’i has worked extensively in New Zealand and Samoa within hospital systems, as well as in primary care both in urban and rural communities. Since 2015, she has been involved in medical education, initially with the National University of Samoa School of Medicine and now works within the Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health as a Senior Professional Practice Fellow. Through these roles Dr Tafuna’i works to develop the Pacific Health curriculum in the Otago Medical School and aims at ensuring that it aligns with the Dunedin School of Medicine Curriculum, sharing this work across the two clinical campuses (Wellington and Christchurch).

She is currently developing eLearning support within much of the Pacific health curriculum, as well as developing Pacific specific problem-based clinical scenarios to help teach the Fonofale Health model effectively.

Dr Tafuna’i’s interests in academia arose from working at grassroot level with rural communities, trying to understand rising health burdens and develop solutions to these problems. Dr Tafuna’i still practices as a primary care physician but is moving towards a public health space to help keep her informed on how to engage and work better in primary care.

Dr Tafuna’i is married with five beautiful children in a blended family, and is of Samoan, Fijian and Kiribati descent.

Publications

Tafuna'i, M., Turner, R., Matalavea, B., Voss, D., Hazelman, L., Richards, R., & Walker, R. (2022). Results of a community-based screening programme for chronic kidney disease and associated risk factors, (obesity, diabetes and hypertension) in a Samoan cohort. BMJ Open, 12(4), e056889. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056889

Tafuna'i, M., Turner, R. M., Richards, R., Sopoaga, F., & Walker, R. (2022). The prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Samoans living in Auckland, New Zealand. Nephrology, 27(3), 248-259. doi: 10.1111/nep.13990

Bothara, R. K., Tafuna'i, M., Wilkinson, T. J., Desrosiers, J., Jack, S., Pattemore, P. K., Walls, T., Sopoaga, F., Murdoch, D. R., & Miller, A. P. (2021). Global health classroom: Mixed methods evaluation of an interinstitutional model for reciprocal global health learning among Samoan and New Zealand medical students. Globalization & Health, 17, 99. doi: 10.1186/s12992-021-00755-8

Taiaroa, G., Matalavea, B., Tafuna'i, M., Lacey, J. A., Price, D. J., Isaia, L., Leaupepe, H., … Williamson, D. A., & Jack, S. (2021). Scabies and impetigo in Samoa: A school-based clinical and molecular epidemiological study. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 6, 100081. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100081

Tafuna'i, M., Matalavea, B., Voss, D., Turner, R. M., Richards, R., Sopoaga, F., … Walker, R. (2020). Kidney failure in Samoa. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 5, 100058. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100058

Tafuna'i, M., Turner, R. M., Richards, R., Sopoaga, F., & Walker, R. (2022). The prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Samoans living in Auckland, New Zealand. Nephrology, 27(3), 248-259. doi: 10.1111/nep.13990

Journal - Research Article

Tafuna'i, M., Turner, R., Matalavea, B., Voss, D., Hazelman, L., Richards, R., & Walker, R. (2022). Results of a community-based screening programme for chronic kidney disease and associated risk factors, (obesity, diabetes and hypertension) in a Samoan cohort. BMJ Open, 12(4), e056889. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056889

Journal - Research Article

Bothara, R. K., Tafuna'i, M., Wilkinson, T. J., Desrosiers, J., Jack, S., Pattemore, P. K., Walls, T., Sopoaga, F., Murdoch, D. R., & Miller, A. P. (2021). Global health classroom: Mixed methods evaluation of an interinstitutional model for reciprocal global health learning among Samoan and New Zealand medical students. Globalization & Health, 17, 99. doi: 10.1186/s12992-021-00755-8

Journal - Research Article

Taiaroa, G., Matalavea, B., Tafuna'i, M., Lacey, J. A., Price, D. J., Isaia, L., Leaupepe, H., … Williamson, D. A., & Jack, S. (2021). Scabies and impetigo in Samoa: A school-based clinical and molecular epidemiological study. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 6, 100081. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100081

Journal - Research Article

Tafuna'i, M., Matalavea, B., Voss, D., Turner, R. M., Richards, R., Sopoaga, F., … Walker, R. (2020). Kidney failure in Samoa. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 5, 100058. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100058

Journal - Research Article

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