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Ground-breaking research partnership in Porirua


Ground-breaking research partnership in Porirua to tackle significant Pacific health problems

Pacific Health Plus and the Maurice Wilkins Centre are pleased to announce a joint research initiative to improve the health of Pacific people in New Zealand.

Note: Media are invited to the launch of this initiative; April 5th, 6pm; Pacific Health Plus offices @ 8 Bedford Court, Cannons Creek, Porirua; RSVP

The Maurice Wilkins Centre has revealed new information about the effects of genes on diabetes and obesity risk in Pacific and Māori people, this is the Centre's first partnership with a Pacific health provider and will enable this unique research to continue in the hope it will help reduce certain health problems in Pasifika people. The Maurice Wilkins Centre has two partnerships with Māori organisations in the far North and in Tairawhiti.

The research will focus on metabolic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and obesity, which are a major cause of health inequities for Māori and Pacific people, particularly where economic issues compound the problem.

How genetic factors might contribute to these problems and how this information can be used to improve the health of Pacific people will be a key focus.

“Working with Pacific Health Plus, we can find ways to develop strategies to use cutting-edge medical and genetic research to improve health outcomes for Pacific people,” the Maurice Wilkins Centre’s Deputy Director, Professor Peter Shepherd, says.

“We are seeking to create a nationwide research consortium focusing on medical and biomedical research for Māori and Pacific health. Not only do we want to empower these communities, but we want to bring the research directly to them, redirecting some of the research usually undertaken in the ‘ivory towers’ of universities,” Professor Shepherd says.

The collaboration has been welcomed by John Fiso, chairman of Pacific Health Plus: “No-one can deny that the health outcomes of Pacific people in New Zealand are far worse than any other demographic group,” Mr Fiso says.

“Hospitalisation rates for Pacific people are about double that of the general population; the proportion of Pacific people with diabetes is twice that of everyone else - and that rate is rising; Pacific people are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever than the rest of New Zealand.

“Working with the experts at the Maurice Wilkins Centre is an extraordinary opportunity and provides a pathway to changing this,” he says.

“Other than South Auckland, Porirua has the highest concentration of Pacific people in New Zealand and it makes absolute sense that we should partner to improve health outcomes for these communities. The staff and the board of Pacific Health Plus and the Fiso Investment Group are honoured to collaborate with the Maurice Wilkins Centre in this critical segment of New Zealand health.

“Health and social statistics for Pacific people in New Zealand are totally unacceptable and it is clear that this group of New Zealanders has been overlooked for too long. Better investments and effective partnerships, such as this one, can change this,” Mr Fiso says.

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is a national Centre of Research Excellence that brings together over 400 of New Zealand’s top scientists and clinicians from all over the country.

Pacific Health Plus is a primary healthcare service in Cannons Creek, Porirua, and is the only Pacific owned and governed healthcare service for Pacific people in the Wellington region. It services over 2000 people in the Cannons Creek community.


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