October 04, 2021
Research seeks Māori clues for heart health
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A Māori health researcher wants to identify ethnic differences which may contribute to heart disease among Māori.
Karaitiana Taiuru from the Christchurch Heart Institute at the University of Otago has been given a Heart Foundation grant for the two-year study.
He says while heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Māori aged 65 years or older, ethnic differences have not been well researched and most indicators used to diagnose the risk of heart failure are based on a predominantly European population.
Dr Taiuru, whose previous careers have been around information technology and intellectual property, says he’s motivated by the experience of his own whānau.
“Most men in my family didn’t make it past 65 and there was a mistrust of the health system. Whānau just didn’t go to the hospital, they would prefer to pass away at home. I still hear stories like that now. With research and education and making sure Māori are on the agenda, hopefully, this will be a thing of the past,” he says.
Heart Foundation Māori health fellowships went to former Ōpōtiki pharmacist Mariana Hudson, who is working with Dr Anna Rolleston to develop tools to assess whether research proposals will contribute to achieving equity in heart health, and to Anita Rangitutia, who is looking at how whānau-led community-based cardiac rehabilitation can lead to improved Māori health outcomes.