March 23, 2017
EIT leadership role for David Tipene-Leach
The Eastern Institute of Technology has appointed Maori health champion David Tipene-Leach its Professor of Maori and Indigenous Research.
Professor Tipene-Leach's research and his work as a general practitioner has led to ground breaking initiatives on diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome.
He says moving out of clinical practice is a huge change and he will miss patient care, but there are huge opportunities in his new role, who, for the last 10 years, was a general medical practitioner with Hauora Heretaunga at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.
“However, the opportunities at EIT are endless.”
Professor Tipene-Leach, who is Ngati Kahungunu from Porangahau, was a senior lecturer in Maori health at the University of Auckland’s Medical School from 1987 to 2001, before moving to Gisborne to run a clinic for Ngati Porou Hauora.
This move was the catalyst for developing the East Coast Ngati and Healthy Prevent Diabetes research project with the University of Otago, and also triggered the development of the wahakura woven flax bassinet and further research around sudden infant death.
The subsequent Safe Sleep programme, which includes the wahakura’s ‘little sister’ – the plastic Pepi-Pod – – has been credited with decreasing infant mortality by 30 percent in the past six years.
Professor Tipene-Leach has served on a range of health bodies as well as leading the Heretaunga Tamatea Treaty of Waitangi claim through to last September’s signing of a $125 million settlement.
In his EIT role, Professor Tipene-Leach will work with staff and students and collaborating Universities to establish robust research projects pursuing local interests, post-settlement projects in Hawke’s Bay and teach a postgraduate programme in Maori health.
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