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Grants Of Nearly $300,000 To Help Māori Health And Equity In The Bay Of Plenty

New grants totaling nearly $300,000 will be used to focus on Māori health advancement and improving equity in the Bay of Plenty.

It has been announced that the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) has received three Health Sector Research Collaboration Grants from the Health Research Council (HRC). They will help develop a framework for integrating technology and health; explore the use of technology to promote wellbeing among Māori; and develop skills and expertise in kaupapa Māori research methodology.

BOPDHB Health Research Manager Charlie Stratton said the grants presented a great opportunity.

“This aligns with our new approach in redesigning the way in which the Bay’s health services are planned, funded and delivered though closer engagement with the people we serve,” said Charlie. “In order to successfully deliver better health outcomes, we recognise the need to generate local evidence that will inform the way we deliver our healthcare services, and these grants play an important role in helping us to achieve this goal.”

Charlie, along with Executive Director of Allied Health Dr Sarah Mitchell and Manukura - Executive Director Te Pare ā Toi Marama Tauranga, worked together on the proposal He Pou Oranga: Developing a framework for integrating technology and health. This project has been awarded a Research Activation Grant of $89,708.

“The activities funded through this grant outline how we will shape our research agenda with our Māori communities over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Charlie.

BOPDHB Board Chair Sharon Shea said equity issues were a focus for the Board.

“One of our priorities as a Board is around addressing equity issues for Māori and supporting those who need our help the most,” said Sharon. “Given that context, grants such as these are incredibly important and help further our work in these areas.”

Integration, Technology and LifeCurve™ Researcher Leigh Haldane said receiving the HRC Research Career Development Award of $109,600 to further research into the LifeCurve™ App, focusing on wellbeing among Māori, is a great honour.

“The grant will allow me to undertake important mahi on behalf of communities across the Bay of Plenty,” said Leigh. “I will be able to dedicate my time to working collaboratively with community partners in understanding what healthy aging looks like from a Māori worldview, as well as what technology can be used to support people as they age.

“Together we will undertake co-design research informed by a kaupapa Māori philosophy to explore these concepts, as well as inform adaptations to the LifeCurve™ App that is aimed at empowering people to age well.”

And Pharmacist Mariana Hudson received an $83,000 Research Career Development Award, which will be used for developing skills and expertise in kaupapa Māori research methodology.

“I am excited about the opportunity to contribute and influence change within the health sector and use a Kaupapa Māori research approach for the benefit of whānau,” said Mariana. “As a pharmacist, to research and understand the impact of medication on Māori requires the establishment of partnership, to allow Māori to choose how we express tino rangatiratanga. It also needs the principle of active protection to ensure cultural safety and appropriateness.”

BOPDHB are partnering with The Centre for Health (TCFH) for some of these activities. TCFH Director Dr Anna Rolleston and her team are highly experienced in health and wellbeing research and will support Mariana to develop key skills in Kaupapa Māori research principles and co-design/mahi tahi.

The Health Sector Research Collaboration Grants are part of a suite of new research to be carried out by five DHBs around the country to drive health sector-led research that directly responds to health sector and community needs.

The grants, designed to upskill and empower healthcare organisations to conduct more research, are being piloted with DHBs with the aim of being extended to other health providers in the future.

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