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Leader In Public And Pacific Health

Ministry Of Health Appoints Leader In Public And Pacific Health

Dr Colin Tukuitonga, a leader in public and Pacific health has been appointed the Ministry of Health's Director of Public Health.

Dr Tukuitonga, a Niuean New Zealander, fills a position previously held by Dr Lynne Lane who resigned in November last year.

Director-General of Health Karen Poutasi is delighted Dr Tukuitonga will be joining the Ministry.

"This is a coup for the Ministry of Health. Dr Tukuitonga is one of New Zealand's most respected health professionals and has held numerous positions of responsibility in this country as well as Niue and Fiji.

"He has an impressive background in public health and is also a leader in the Pacific health sector. His wide range of skills and international experience will be of great benefit to the Ministry of Health and the people of New Zealand. "

Dr Tukuitonga's role as Director, Public Health is a Statutory position and he will report to the Deputy Director-General, Public Health Directorate, Dr Don Matheson.

He will be responsible for advising the Director-General and relevant Deputy Director-Generals on matters relating to public health.

Furthermore, the Director of Public Health provides advice or reports directly to the Minister of Health, and will also hold the position of Medical Officer of Health for all health districts in New Zealand.

"I look forward to working with Dr Tukuitonga in ensuring health services are directed into the areas of most need and focusing in particular on tackling inequalities in health" Dr Matheson said.

The appointment as Director of Public Health means Dr Tukuitonga will leave his current position as senior lecturer, Department of Maori and Pacific Health at the University of Auckland.

Previously, Dr Tukuitonga was a manager and clinical advisor with the former Northern Regional Health Authority and also worked for the Auckland Area Health Board as a Public Health Medicine Registrar. It was during this time Dr Tukuitonga was one of the founding directors of the Pacific Health Research Centre at the University of Auckland.

Speaking from California where he is currently working as a Harkness Fellow in Health Policy Dr Tukuitonga said he was thrilled about his appointment.

"I am pleased to be appointed to the position and look forward to working with the public health sector to protect and improve the health of all New Zealanders".

"We need to use the knowledge and public health interventions known to us as effectively as we can to ensure that our population health is the best that it can be. In some cases, we need to focus on those most at risk and conditions which pose the highest threat to the health of our citizens.

"Strategic alliances with the private sector and non-governmental organisations will enhance our ability to do more than we can with public funding and expertise".

Dr Colin Tukuitonga joins the Ministry of Health on August 1.


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