Pacific health benefits from research awards

26 November 2013

Two major Pacific health awards have gone to University of Auckland researchers examining injury and disability in Pacific communities. Dr Josephine Herman and Dr Iris Wainiqolo from the University of Auckland are examining different aspects of road traffic injuries and injury-related disabilities in Pacific communities.

Dr Herman, who is of Cook Islands Māori descent, will use her postdoctoral fellowship to determine the burden and severity of road traffic injuries among Pacific peoples in the Cook Islands and New Zealand. She will establish an injury surveillance system and explore the knowledge and attitudes of Pacific road users to road safety.

Collaborating with research partners in New Zealand and Fiji, Dr Wainiqolo will examine long-term disability among road crash survivors in Fiji. She will also develop a set of indicators that can be used to monitor and evaluate road traffic injury prevention policies.

The HRC’s Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds, says there’s a real need for more Pacific voices in the health research sector.  “We’re delighted to offer these funding opportunities, which are essential to support the development of a critical mass of Pacific health research capacity.”

The list of researchers from the University of Auckland benefitting from a 2014 HRC Career Development Award includes:

Pacific Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr Josephine Herman, the University of Auckland Injury and disability among Pacific people in the Cook Islands and New Zealand 3 years, $343,514

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Dr Iris Wainiqolo, the University of Auckland Road injuries in the Pacific: disability, costs and health system indicators 3 years, $250,000

Pacific Health Research PhD Scholarship

Ms Eliza Puna, the University of Auckland Cook Islands youth: Positive mental health wellbeing and suicide prevention. 3 years, $106,589

Pacific Health Research Masters Scholarships

Mrs Synthia Dash, the University of Auckland Towards a Pacific Island Definition of Deliberate Self-Harm 10 months, $10,000

Ms Hulita Tauveli, the University of Auckland Urban poverty and homelessness among Pasifika living in South Auckland 6 months, $4,000

For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips , Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences The University of Auckland Email s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz Phone +64 9 923 7383 or Mob 021416396