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Harkness Fellows report on US health research

Harkness Fellows report on their US health research

Three returned Harkness Fellows in Health Care Policy and Practice will report back on their research in the US at public seminars in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin over coming weeks. Chaired by Director-General of Health Stephen McKernan, who acts as New Zealand Representative for the Harkness Fellowships programme, the seminars will feature speakers drawn from the past few years’ Harkness Fellows.

2006-2007 Harkness Fellow Mark Booth will speak at all three seminars, reporting on his 12 months of research at Brown University’s Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research in Rhode Island, where he compared health care policy responses to population aging in New Zealand and the United States. Results of his comparison of long-term care for the elderly in the two countries were published in the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand last November, in a joint paper with his Brown University research collaborator Professor Vince Mor. Mark is a Principal Policy Advisor and Manager within the Ministry of Health, but is currently on secondment as a Senior Health Advisor to the Minister of Health, David Cunliffe.

Dr Mihi Ratima, the second Harkness Fellow in 2006-2007, will speak at the Wellington seminar, discussing the findings from her research into obesity prevention among indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, which she completed while on placement at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. While in the US, Mihi undertook case studies of two obesity prevention initiatives - a Native Alaskan-owned primary health care intervention aiming to prevent obesity among indigenous peoples, and the Healthy Eating Active Communities initiative which aims to fight childhood obesity in California by reducing risk factors for obesity and facilitating healthy eating and physical activity. Mihi is Director of AUT University’s Taupua Waiora Centre for Mäori Health Research and leader of the University’s Postgraduate Programme in Mäori Health.

A third Fellow, Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis, will report on her earlier research as a 2004-2005 Harkness Fellow at the Auckland seminar. Elana analysed ethnic disparities in breast cancer mortality and survival at the University of California, San Francisco, investigating the role of access and quality in breast cancer screening and treatment. She is a Public Health Physician and currently works as a Senior Lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Mäori, the University of Auckland’s Department of Mäori Health.

Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice are offered by private American foundation The Commonwealth Fund. Valued at over US$100,000, the Fellowships allow mid-career health professionals from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to spend up to 12 months in the US, conducting original research and working with leading American health policy experts. Applications for 2009-2010 Fellowships are open now and close on 5 September. See for further details.


Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice Seminars, 2008
Mark Booth (2006-2007 Harkness Fellow)
12:30pm, Wednesday 30th April
Barnett Lecture Theatre, Dunedin Hospital
1st Floor, 201 Great King Street

Mark Booth (2006-2007 Harkness Fellow)
Elana Taipapaki Curtis (2004-2005 Harkness Fellow)
12:30pm, Friday 2nd May
Function Room 220, School of Population Health, University of Auckland Tamaki Campus
Gate 1, 261 Morrin Road, Glen Innes

Mark Booth (2006-2007 Harkness Fellow)
Mihi Ratima (2006-2007 Harkness Fellow)
12:30pm, Wednesday 7th May
Fulbright New Zealand
Level 8, 120 Featherston Street (cnr Waring Taylor Street)


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