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Research tackles Maori and Pacifika heart inequalities

Research tackles Maori and Pacifika heart inequalities

New research will explore why Maori, Pasifika and people living in areas of high deprivation are more likely to die from a major heart event.

Dr Corina Grey, from the University of Auckland’s Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, has been awarded a $90,000 Research Fellowship from the Heart Foundation to look at why these groups are so much worse off.

Her Fellowship is part of $1.7 million in new research and training grants announced by the Heart Foundation today, which is also World Heart Day.

Dr Grey says there is already plenty of evidence showing Maori and Pacific people, and those living in high deprivation areas, are more likely to die from a heart attack before reaching hospital, and in the first year after a heart attack.

“The aim of my research is to investigate in more detail where and why these inequalities arise. Knowledge of where inequalities occur will then enable us to develop targeted strategies and interventions to improve care for all New Zealanders.”

Dr Grey says it is not known exactly where the disparities exist – such as whether it is in the time it takes to get to hospital, who gets stenting or heart surgery, who gets referred for cardiac rehabilitation or who experiences complications following the heart event.

She will seek answers using the ANZACS-QI research programme, which gives detailed information about all patients admitted to hospitals with a heart attack or unstable angina.

“Through the ANZACS-QI programme, we will have access to in-depth information about the pre-hospital delay, in-hospital management, availability of cardiac rehabilitation and long-term medical management of all patients admitted to hospital in New Zealand with a heart attack.”

The Heart Foundation’s 2015 funding round includes seven project grants, 10 Fellowships, seven small project grants and five travel grants. They span a range of clinical, biomedical and public health topics.

Medical Director Gerry Devlin says the Heart Foundation is passionate about reducing the burden of heart disease for all New Zealanders.

“Dr Grey’s research will further that cause and we’re very pleased to be supporting her work.

“Addressing inequality and supporting research which helps us understand and overcome barriers is fundamental to improving heart healthcare in our country.”

Dr Grey says the charity’s support is extremely important in enabling this kind of research.

“I would not be able to undertake my work without the Heart Foundation’s funding.”

The Heart Foundation is New Zealand’s leading independent funder of heart research, and has invested more than $55 million into research and cardiology training since 1970.

Today’s announcement brings the Heart Foundation’s total funding in 2015 to $2.6 million.


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