News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Māori working with and for Māori in health research

MEDIA RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2019


Māori working with and for Māori in health research, and for better vision

Researchers at the University of Auckland have successfully led a trial that could improve participation rates in health research among Māori and other communities who could most benefit from it.

The research was led by Dr Jason Turuwhenua, Senior Research Fellow at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), who was trialing an innovative eye-testing device that he has developed.

Dr Turuwhenua, of Tuhoe descent, was keen to get local Māori involved, a community that is negatively over-represented in health statistics and who, for various reasons, don’t tend to participate in health research.

Which is why he and Dr Joanna Black, Senior Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University, approached Kia Aroha College in Otara, South Auckland, a school comprised mostly of Māori and Pacific Island students.

“It was about testing the usability of the device, but it was also a chance to build a model of engagement for researchers working with Māori and Pacific communities,” says Dr Turuwhenua.
Moreover, while the Ministry of Health funds free vision checks for children, Māori have low participation rates. “There’s very little data about the health of eyes in south Auckland,” says Dr
Turuwhenua.

He and Dr Black got some sage advice from Misty Edmonds, a registered nurse and Senior Lecturer, Māori, at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Ms Edmonds has a long history of working with secondary schools across Counties Manukau, including whare kura (Māori high schools) and was aware that getting Māori and Pacific communities on board with health initiatives requires a specific approach, and time and patience.

“It requires more than sending home a form or letter,” she says.

Participation in this type of trial among this cohort of people would typically be around 20 percent, she says. The tests were offered to 220 students, and over 60 percent of pupils participated in completed research eye checks, a remarkably high participation rate.

How did they do it? There were lengthy discussions between researchers and staff at the school/kura before the trial, about how to engage with students and parents, how to best explain what the consent process meant and how to highlight the benefits for tamariki and rangatahi participating in the trial.

“I think we spent more time engaging with staff and whānau than the actual time it took to do the eye tests,” says Ms Edmonds.

The support of the school was invaluable. “The message was that this was an awesome opportunity for our kids, that this was free vision testing, that our kids can struggle to get access to these services, and it would contribute to University of Auckland research.

The eye-testing device Dr Turuwhenua and team developed involves a portable headset that tracks Optokinetic Nystagmus (OKN), the involuntary and natural eye movement our eyes make when tracking a moving object such as a passing train.

The portable device elicits the movement with patterns on a screen. “If your vision is good, your eyes will move in a certain way,” says Dr Turuwhenua. “If they don’t, you know something is wrong.”

Unlike standard eye tests, the test doesn’t require the person being tested to be able to recognise the letters of the alphabet, so it can used to test the vision of those too young to read.

This is important; as Dr Turuwhenua notes, early diagnosis can save people’s vision.
The high participation rate in the trial with Kia Aroha College has meant that nearly all students received a comprehensive eye examination and some of them will have better vision as a result.

With the support of the charitable trust, Essilor Vision, free spectacles have been prescribed and provided for those found to need them - and at a crucial time in their education.

Importantly, it has also opened the door for health researchers hoping to work with Maori and Pacific communities. “A community who don’t fare well in health statistics,” he says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Westpac Exiting Cake Tin: Stadium Announces Naming Rights Agreement With Sky

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust (WRST) and Sky Network Television Ltd (Sky) have announced a new partnership that will see Sky secure the naming rights of the Stadium from 1 January 2020. More>>

ALSO:

ASB Classic: Serena Williams Confirmed For 2020

One of the biggest names in sport has confirmed she will be returning to the ASB Classic in 2020. Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will return to Auckland’s ASB Tennis Arena to challenge for the ASB Classic title. More>>

Netball: Taurua To Coach Silver Ferns Through Two More Campaigns

Netball New Zealand has confirmed Taurua will guide the Silver Ferns as they take on the Australian Diamonds in October’s Cadbury Netball Series (Constellation Cup), along with the Northern Quad Series in late January. More>>

ALSO:

Bigger But Less Novel Than The Parrot: Giant Fossil Penguin Find

The discovery of Crossvallia waiparensis, a monster penguin from the Paleocene Epoch (between 66 and 56 million years ago), adds to the list of gigantic, but extinct, New Zealand fauna. These include the world’s largest parrot, a giant eagle, giant burrowing bat, the moa and other giant penguins. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland