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Introduction to Pacific Health: Approaches for Action

He whakataki ki te Hauora Moana-nui-a-Kiwa: Ngā ara hei kōkiri kaupapa

Monday 11 February 2019

Introduction to Pacific Health: Approaches for Action will provide an introduction to key concepts, issues and effective actions in Pacific health from evidence and community-based perspectives. Students will learn about the cultural and demographic trends, key priorities and ways of overcoming current challenges.

Topics covered

  1. Pacific health in New Zealand and other Pacific Island nations
  2. Health disparities
  3. Communicable & non-communicable diseases
  4. Approaches to improve Pacific health
  5. Implications for policy, research & practice

Style of course

Small group - i.e. teaching and discussion in a group of up to 25 people.

Who should attend?

The course will be useful for people working in the public health, primary health care, and community sectors seeking to expand their knowledge base and better understand the health issues facing Pacific people. It will also be of interest to postgraduate students and researchers. The lessons learnt from this course can be applied to improve Pacific health outcomes.

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
9:00am Welcome Viliami Puloka
Moira Smith
9:30am Setting the scene: Pacific health concepts and issues Viliami Puloka
Rose Richards
10:30am Morning tea  
11:00am Avenues for action: Pacific health priorities and research Rose Richards

Matafanua Hilda Fa'asalele
Chief Advisor Pacific Health,
Ministry of Health

Sipaia Kupa,
Capital & Coast DHB
12:30pm Lunch break  
1:30pm Avenues for action: case studies from the Pacific community Tevita Funaki

Clinician TBC
3:00pm Afternoon tea  
3:30pm Building Pacific health workforce capacity TBC
4:00pm Acting on knowledge: workshopping Pacific health scenarios Viliami Puloka
Rose Richards
Tevita Funaki
Moira Smith
5:00pm Finish  

Teaching staff

Dr Viliami Puloka

Dr Viliami Puloka is a Research Fellow in the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington. He is also a Senior Health Promotion Strategist specialising in Pacific Health with the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand.

Viliami supports and facilitates Pacific research in New Zealand and in the Pacific. His vast experience and network in the Pacific region allows for effective and meaningful engagement with Pacific communities. He has a special interest in diabetes and obesity and believes “Diabetes is the Face of NCD in the Pacific”.

He led the fight against non-communicable diseases with the Pacific Community (SPC) supporting the 22 Pacific Island countries and Territories. He was the head and team leader of the Healthy Pacific Lifestyle Unit for almost a decade before moving to New Zealand in 2014. Before that, Viliami worked as a clinician, as well as public health practitioner in Tonga.

Viliami has a Diploma of Dermatology from Bangkok Institute of Dermatology; Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Papua New Guinea, and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii.

Dr Moira Smith

Dr Moira Smith is a senior Research Fellow in the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington. Moira trained as a dentist. Her research interests are public health, child health, oral health and Pacific health. Moira has conducted research in NZ investigating Pacific children’s oral health, and with Viliami Puloka and Louise Signal, was an investigator on the Kids’Cam Tonga study.

Dr Rose Richards

Dr Rose Richards is Associate Dean (Pacific) for the Dunedin School of Medicine, Director of the Centre for Pacific Health in Va’a o Tautai, Division of Health Sciences, and convenor for the new Pacific and Global Health major in the Bachelor of Health Sciences.

Rose’s background is in behavioural psychology and public health and she collaborates on research across a number of areas. She is currently Principal Investigator on a HRC Pacific Project about sleep health among Pacific families and part of the Big Data team of the Better Start National Science Challenge. As former co-Director of the Cancer Society and Behavioral Research Unit she has published across a variety of cancer prevention areas, including physical activity, nutrition, tobacco control and supportive care.

Tevita Funaki

Tevita Funaki is the Chief Executive Officer of The Fono since, with an extensive career working with Pacific communities in health and education. Of Tongan heritage, Tevita leads the operational arm of The Fono, with responsibilities including liaising with The Fono’s Board and Senior Management Team, strategic planning and implementation, overseeing financial management, contract and business development (including with MoH, DHBs, PHO, and MSD), marketing, legal compliance, policy and human resources at The Fono.

Prior to joining the Fono, Tevita was Pacific Health Manager for ProCare Health Ltd and was the National Pasifika Liaison Advisor for Massey University. He has also managed an Employment Consultancy and Project Management Services firm and worked in health services. He currently chairs or advises on multiple community boards and committees. Tevita has a BCom from Otago University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management from Unitec.

Matafanua Hilda Fa'asalele – Chief Advisor Pacific Health, Ministry of Health

Sipaia Kupa – Pacific Health Unit, Capital and Coast DHB

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after 20 December 2018.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.