December 29, 2015
Research targeting childhood substance abuse
Twenty one emerging Maori health researchers have received career development awards from the Health Research Council totaling $1.8 million.
HRC chief executive Professor Kath McPherson says the commission’s sustained investment in Maori health researchers over the past 25 years means New Zealand now leads the world in indigenous health research.
She says such high-quality research, which uses and advances Maori knowledge, resources and people, can significantly improve Maori health outcomes.
The largest award for 2016, a postdoctoral fellowship valued at more than $542,000, went to AUT researcher Lisa Chant of Ngati Whatua.
Over the next four years Dr Chant will work with colleagues here and overseas on tackling the problem of Maori children under 13 years who misuse substances.
She says while it is something that is being addressed by the alcohol and other drug workforce, “what’s missing is good recent data on what the situation is for Maori children under 13 years who are misusing substances, particularly in terms of diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.”
Dr Ruakere Hond, from Te Pou Tiringa Incorporated won the Hohua Tutengaehe postdoctoral fellowship valued at $483,854 for his project Whakarauora Hapori.
This includes a study of health promotion, including looking at what constitutes effective early life kaupapa Maori programming for tamariki that will improve health outcomes throughout life and investigating ways the involvement of fathers can improve Maori child health outcomes.
As part of the four year project he will work with Taranaki Maori communities to build health research capability and capacity.
Six PhD scholarships were awarded.
Two of them relate to Maori mothers: Aria Graham from Victoria University of Wellington will look at young Maori mothers’ experiences of wellbeing following birth, while Ngahuia Murphy from the University of Waikato is investigating customary Maori philosophies regarding the whare tangata (womb).
At the other end of life, Karen Keelan from the University of Otago is looking at Maori experiences of aged residential care.
Mahonri Owen from the University of Waikato will spend the next three years trying to develop a neural interface for prosthetics. Chanel Phillips, from the University of Otago, is examining Maori water safety, and Dr Jamie-Lee Rahiri at the University of Auckland is looking at how to optimise pain relief after abdominal surgery.
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