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Maori health Research Boosted By AUT Appointment

Maori health research and education to receive a significant boost with new appointment

New Zealand’s first female Associate Professor in Maori Health, Dr Mihi Ratima (Te Whakatohea and Ngati Awa), has been appointed at Auckland University of Technology’s Faculty of Health.

As a former World Health Organisation (WHO) analyst, diplomat whose work focussed on the Pacific region, recipient of the Health Research Council Erihapeti Murchie Postdoctoral Fellowship and Fulbright Scholar, Dr Ratima will bring expertise in Maori and indigenous peoples’ health, public health, health promotion, and research.

“It is an exciting challenge to be the first professorial level appointment to specialise in Maori health at AUT,” says Dr Ratima.

Professor Max Abbott, Dean, Faculty of Health, said, “The appointment aims to strengthen Maori leadership within the Faculty, enhance research and teaching in Maori health and contribute to the health of Maori people. It is an expression of the University’s commitment to Maori health development and to meeting its Treaty of Waitangi obligations.”

“This newly created position provides an opportunity for AUT to more fully realise its potential contribution to improving Maori health outcomes. AUT has a central role to play in enhancing Maori health academic capacity, expanding the Maori professional health workforce and in research collaboration with Maori. The establishment of this position provides a clear Maori health focus within AUT, and will be important in strengthening links with Maori communities and Maori health research, education and service providers,” explains Dr Ratima.

Her career so far, has seen her develop a WHO framework for indigenous peoples’ health policy and share responsibility for coordinating the WHO international consultation on indigenous people’s health; work with the University of New Mexico’s Native American Diabetes Project; establish herself as a senior Maori health researcher leading and contributing to a wide range public health and Maori health promotion community-based research projects; and undertake New Zealand representational and bilateral policy work on issues concerning indigenous peoples of the Pacific.

Dr Ratima’s whanau share her commitment to Maori development, and her brother and sisters all work in related areas. Her brother Matiu Ratima is a lecturer at AUT in Maori language and Maori leadership; her sister Dr Keri Ratima is the Senior Advisor in Maori Health for the National Health Committee; and, another sister Tina Ratima is a strategic analyst within their tribal area with the Whakatane District Council.

-END

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