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Tupuānuku – Nourishing the physical health of tāngata whai ora

Funded by the Health Research Council for 2021–2023, this project will address the factors contributing to inequities in physical health outcomes for people with experience of mental illness or addiction in Aotearoa.

Tupuānuku project overview

Looking for the Tupuānuku lived experience survey?

This research will investigate the enablers and barriers that effect the access and quality of physical health care for people with mental health and addiction issues in Aotearoa.

The research project is split into three integrated strands of work: the investigation and analysis of routinely collected data, exploring the stories of people with experience of mental illness or addiction, and evaluating relevant policies and strategies, alongside implementing and disseminating recommendations and resources that support appropriate interventions.

Objective 1: Extent and impact of inequity

We will focus on cardiometabolic conditions and cancer, and base indicators of health care quality of the HQSC Atlas of Health Care Variation measures.

Using linked routine data we will:

  • Determine the extent of any inequity in health service access, timely diagnosis and treatment receipt for physical health conditions in people with mental illness or addiction compared to other New Zealanders
  • Assess the role of such inequity in premature mortality among this group
  • Separately examine markers of health service quality and their contribution to mortality for Māori with experience of mental illness or addiction

Objective 2: Information from lived experience

We will gather information directly from people with experience of mental health or addiction to elaborate on their positive and negative experiences of physical health care.

This will involve:

  • An online survey gathering qualitative and quantitative information about experiences of physical health care from people identifying as having experienced mental illness or addiction
  • In-depth qualitative interviews

Objective 3: Resources and recommendations

Policy recommendations, service improvement strategies and workforce development resources will be developed for health practitioners, policy makers and people with lived experience to target the potential intervention points identified in Objectives 1 and 2.

This will involve:

  • Systems mapping and development of case studies and pathways of care with the advisory group
  • Advisory group workshops to develop and prioritise recommendations, and commit to actions
  • Evaluation of the evidence translation process
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Tupuānuku research team

Lead researchers

Advisory group

  • Dr Anthony O’Brien – University of Waikato
  • Dr Arran Culver – Ministry of Health
  • Caro Swanson – Te Pou
  • Catherine Gerard – Ministry of Health
  • John Robinson – Pegasus Health
  • Dr Matire Harwood – University of Auckland
  • Ross Phillips – Pathways
  • Sarah Gray – Waitematā DHB
  • Suzana Baird – MHAIDS
  • Professor Suzanne Pitama – University of Otago
  • Dr Vanessa Caldwell – MidCentral DHB