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Members of the regional committee

IUHPE membership bios

Profile_SioneSione Tu'itahi is the Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand Runanga Whakapiki Ake I Te Hauora o Aotearoa. An educator, author and health promotion professional, his areas of interest in health promotion include determinants of health, human rights, community development, public policy, and workforce development. Sione has been working in the public health and tertiary education sectors in New Zealand for two decades. A former journalist and broadcaster in Tonga and the Pacific region, He is the author of a few books and children’s stories. He is also an active voluntary community worker within his faith-based community, the Pacific-ethnic communities and neighbourhood communities in Auckland.

Sione is the current Vice President (2013-2016) of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) for the South West Pacific Region, and a member of the Global Executive Board of IUHPE. IUHPE is an umbrella organisation for health promotion professionals and institutions throughout the world.


Louise signal photoAssociate Professor Louise Signal is the Regional Director of the South West Pacific Region IUHPE. She is also a Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit and HIA Research Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington. She has worked and done research in the field of health promotion for over 30 years in a range of roles, including Senior Advisor (Health Promotion) for the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Behavioural Scientist at the Public Health Commission. Louise is a social scientist with a PhD in Community Health from the University of Toronto. Louise teaches health promotion at the graduate and undergraduate level. Her main research interests are in the fields of health promotion, public health policy making, and tackling inequalities in health. She has particular interests in healthy eating, food security, health impact assessment and sun protection. Her current research includes studying children’s lived environment to explore their exposure to advertising, smoking and gambling and understanding the cause of inequalities in cancer survival between Māori and non-Māori in the New Zealand health system and developing appropriate interventions for change.


profile_rosmarie_erbenDr Rosmarie Erben is an Adjunct Associate Professor, Griffith University, Brisbane. She has a degree in physiotherapy and a diploma in psychology from Free University Berlin, from where she also received her doctorate (Ph.D.) in Social Psychology/Health promotion. She worked in the field of health education and health promotion, first as Officer for International Affairs, at Federal Centre for Health Education in Cologne, Germany from 1967 to 1989 before she joined WHO. She was Health Promotion Officer with the Global Programme on AIDS in WHO/HQ from 1989- 1991 and Regional Adviser in Health Promotion with the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines, from 1991 – 1997. She has been a member of IUHPE since 1968 and was Regional Director for Europe for three terms from 1976 – 1985. After moving to Australia she was Regional Director for the South West Pacific from 1998 – 2004 and continued to serve the Union afterwards as member of the Regional Committee. She was chair of the IUHPE/SWP Regional Working Group: Action on Indigenous Resolutions from 2006 – 2011 and is now a member of the group. From 2010–2013 she was coordinator of the IUHPE - International Network of Indigenous Health Promotion Professionals (INIHPP) and continues support to the Network as non-indigenous member.


profile_heather_giffordDr Heather Gifford is an indigenous public health researcher from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Heather has experience in prevention and health promotion activities with indigenous populations, both nationally and internationally. Her PhD was about tribally based tobacco control initiatives aimed at reducing tobacco uptake in the Maori youth population. In 2007 she completed a Health Research Council of NZ Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Heather was on sabbatical in Canada during 2008/09 conducting three separate research projects for Calgary Health Region, Assembly of First Nations and Health Canada. She returned to New Zealand in 2010 to take up her previous position as Director of Whakauae Research Services – a tribally based research centre in Whanganui. Heather is chair of the International Network of Indigenous Health Promotion Professionals (INIHPP) a sub group of the IUHPE network.


profile_richard_osborneRichard Osborne is an epidemiologist and health services researcher. At Deakin University he is Professor of Public Health and head of the Public Health Innovation unit. He holds a prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellowship (2014-18). Based on a NHMRC Population Health Career Development Award Fellowship (2006-10), his work was recognised by the NHMRC as 1 of the 10 Best Research Projects in Australia in 2012. He is currently a Chief Investigator (CI) on a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, NHMRC Partnership Project, a NHMRC Project Grant. He leads a large Australian Research Grant Linkage ($2M) project in partnership with the Victorian government – Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIterAcy) where he is developing the Victorian Health Literacy Response Framework. He works extensively with partners across Asia and Europe and North America. He has published over 130 peer reviewed papers (Scopus H-Index 32) and his career research income as Chief Investigator is over $17m.


Profile_ViliamiDr Puloka is a Public Health Specialist currently the Team Leader Non-communicable disease (NCD) section with Public Health Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) serving the 22 Pacific Islands and Territories (PICTs) A medical doctor and Public Health practitioner trained and practice in Hawaii, Papua New Guinea and Tonga before joining SPC based in Noumea New Caledonia. Dr Puloka in his role at SPC has been applying health promotion principles as an approach to prevention and control of NCDs in PICTs. He is also supporting several Pacific island countries including Tonga, Solomon Islands and Kiribati with setting up of their National Health Promotion Foundation to provide sustainable funding utilizing “SIN Tax”.


profile_jan_ritchieJan Ritchie is currently an Associate Professor and Senior Visiting Fellow with the University of New South Wales and has honorary appointments with Griffith University, Queensland and the Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory. She has been active in the health promotion arena for more than 30 years working both locally and internationally, primarily in Pacific island and Pacific rim countries. She has been an enthusiastic member of IUHPE since 1994, taking on the role of Regional Director in the South West Pacific from for two terms in the early 2000s. Her current research interests are generally in the area of qualitative health research and specifically in Aboriginal health. Her greatest enjoyment is gained through mentoring up-and-coming public health students and early career researchers.


profile_Trevor_SimpsonTe kotahi a Tuhoe ka kata te po. Trevor Simpson joined HPF in May 2010 to manage the Māori portfolio. He is married to Vanessa with two grown children and has worked in the health promotion field since 2006. Prior to this he worked in a number of vocations including Crown Land administration, Treaty Settlements and special youth projects. His interests are in raising the profile of Māori issues particularly in the areas of health and matters of social importance. Trevor is committed to health promotion as a fundamental approach to improving Māori health status and believes that strong Māori leadership in this field is an essential facet if we are to contemplate success.


profile_louise_baldwinLouise Baldwin brings more than 20 years experience in public health to the committee, having worked across government, non government and tertiary sectors. Louise’s key areas of expertise lie in program development, implementation and evaluation with a significant focus on integrating programs to ensure sustainability. Louise’s key areas of interest and experience include cancer prevention, large scale program management and settings-based behavioural research interventions. She is passionate about mentoring young staff through the fields of health promotion and public health. Louise is currently a Senior Research Fellow with Queensland University of Technology.


profile_neil_harrisAssociate Professor Neil Harris, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Australia: Neil has teaching and research interests in population health, particularly in integrative and innovative approaches to health promotion, social determinants of health and engagement in planetary sustainability.





Profile_SparksMichael Sparks is President of the IUHPE (elected 2010-2016). He previously served terms on the IUHPE Board as Vice President for the South West Pacific (2004-2007) and Vice President for Strategy and Governance (2007-2010). He is a past President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Australian Health Promotion Association. Michael is convenor of the public health program at the University of Canberra and has previously worked as a government manager and policy-maker, an advisor to WHO, and a community-based health worker. Michael teaches subjects related to public health planning, health promotion, health data analysis, and health systems and policy. His research interests are in the history of health promotion, the contribution that health promotion makes to public health, and social determinants of health. He has previously undertaken research in the area of tobacco control and global health governance. Michael is Associate editor of Health Promotion International and is on the editorial boards of several other health promotion journals. Michael most recent work has been on the use of health promotion advocacy to achieve the public health goals of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.


profile_lukeDr Wolfenden is a NHMRC Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Since completion of his PhD in 2006 Dr Wolfenden has worked with institutions such as the UK Cochrane Centre, and collaborated with the World Health Organization. Nationally, he was responsible for the evaluation of Australia’s largest ever child obesity prevention program (Good for Kids. Good for Life.) where he led a collaboration between the Prevention Research Centres of the University of Sydney, Hunter New England Area Health Service and NSW Health. He has also held positions as a Health Service Manager (Health Promotion). Dr Wolfenden currently leads a public health research team conducting a range of complex public health trials addressing risk factors for chronic disease.

Mel Stoneham (thumbnail)Dr Melissa Stoneham has over 25 years’ experience in the fields of public and environmental health, with particular skills in the area of health promotion, public policy and advocacy. She has worked with and for local, state and commonwealth government agencies, universities, professional associations and international Aid organisations, WHO in Africa and Secretariat of Pacific Communities in Noumea, working in a range of fields including environmental health, occupational health, health promotion, health policy and advocacy. Melissa is the Director with the Public Health Advocacy Institute WA and has held that position for over 9 years. She is also the principal of a Public Health Consultancy business.
Throughout her career, Melissa has held leadership roles within a range of sectors and has held the President roles with the Public Health Assoc Aust, the Australian Health Promotion Association and Environmental Health Australia. She is currently an editor of the ANZJPH.

Margot Sendall (thumbnail)Dr Marguerite (Margo) Sendall is an academic in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. Margo has 18 years of experience in health promotion encompassing health promotion practice in schools, teaching postgraduate health promotion theory and practice, supervising health promotion research students, undertaking applied research in workplace health promotion and being an active member of the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA). Dr Sendall has been successful in leading competitive, non-competitive and commercial grant projects based on qualitative research. Dr Sendall was an executive committee member of the AHPA Queensland branch from 2007-2014, chairing the Professional Development sub-committee from 2009-2012 and the Scientific Program, AHPA 20th National Conference in 2011. In 2015, Dr Sendall was elected to AHPA National Board of Directors. Margo was a member of the Professionalising Health Promotion sub-committee managing the IUHPE National Accreditation Organisation (NAO) process for registration of health promotion practitioners in Australia. Currently, Margo is a member of the Advocacy and Communication and Conference sub-committees, the NAO Management and NAO Advocacy and Communication sub-committees and the AHPA representative on the Global Scientific Committee for the IUHPE conference in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2019.

Student representative

profile_Sing-AnkurAnkur Singh is a PhD student at Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH), The University of Adelaide, Australia. He joined ARCPOH in 2014 and his PhD project aims to explore the theoretical and empirical explanations for the association between social inequalities and population oral health outcomes. He graduated in dental surgery from India in 2010 and completed his MSc in Dental Public Health with distinction from University College London, UK in 2012. After his Masters, he worked as a Research Associate with the Department of Health Promotion and Tobacco Control at Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and contributed extensively to various projects during his tenure. Since April 2015, he is the Southwest Pacific regional coordinator for the International Student and Early Career Network (ISECN) of IUHPE and is also a current member of the Global Working Group on Social Determinants of Health at IUHPE.