Media Release: Leadership strong in Public Health Advocacy Group

23 Oct 2019 1:17 PM | Anonymous
Public Health Association of New Zealand

Leadership strong in Public Health Advocacy Group


Photo: Kaumatua Pita Pou, Lee Tuki, Hineira Hamiora and Francis Kewene

The Public Health Association of New Zealand (PHA) celebrates the leadership capital within its membership this week as it farewells outgoing President Lee Tuki and welcomes new President Dr Fran McGrath from 1 November 2019.

Lee Tuki has served a two year term as President during a time when the PHA had a complete change of staff at national office level. She has been responsible for updating the organisation’s governance policies, introducing an annual te Tirit o Waitangi workshop for governance training and has been a champion of the PHA’s values.

“Thank you PHA for the amazing ROLLERCOASTER ride, I will be forever grateful for those who have left and gave generously of their time.  Together we made a magnificent difference paving the way for an exciting future” Ms. Tuki said. “He iti hau marangai, e tū pāhokahoka – a little storm, but then a rainbow appears.  We leave a solid foundation for a completely new Executive to continue PHA’s collective vision of equity for all.”

Dr Fran McGrath has previously served two terms as President of the PHA, and had other governance positions at national and branch level. She started her public health work as a GP, then as a volunteer in rural and low income communities, and has had a distinguished career in the health sector, including service to the World Health Organization on various expert groups and has represented New Zealand several times at the World Health Assembly.

“The PHA has a particular contribution to make alongside our members, in being strongly evidence-based and working with other groups to achieve progress on key public health challenges” Dr McGrath said. “Internally we will focus, with our strength coming too from the large voluntary contribution of branches and caucuses.”

The PHA also welcomes two newly elected Executive Council members, Fran Kewene and Hineira Hamiora, to represent the PHA’s Māori Caucus on Council.

Francis Kewene was nominated by the PHA’s Otago Branch. Her whakapapa is to Waikato, Maniapoto and Britain. She works as a Hauora Māori Professional Practice Fellow in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago in Dunedin. Fran has worked in public health since 2000, first as a health promoter, then health protection officer before her current academic role.

“With fresh eyes I come to this position along with my whānau and communities. I am open to opportunities that arise when you least expect them and am driven by kotahitanga through love and peace. Staying focused is about staying grounded to Papatūānuku, Tangaroa and atua katoa. Equity, social justice and human rights are about having positive relationships and making connections” said Fran of her new role.

Hineira Hamiora was also nominated by the PHA’s Otago Branch, her whakapapa is to Tauranga and Katikati, she is one of the Kuia of the Marae in Te Rereatukahia. With over 30 years’ experience working in the health and education sectors, including governance experience as a board member on the Ngaitamawhariu Runanga Health and Social Services, managing their cultural portfolio. She is currently employed with Bay of Plenty DHB as the Te Pou Kokiri for its CAMHS programme.

“He aha te mea nui o te Ao maku e ki He Tangata he Tangata he Tangata” Hineira said.

PHA’s CEO Dr Stone said members could feel confident the organisation had continuity of strong leadership with Dr McGrath coming on as President.

“The PHA is blessed with active, motivated members, many with governance experience, willing to step forward and volunteer their time. I have been very lucky starting in my role while Lee has been here as President and I look forward to the fresh eyes Fran will bring,” Dr Stone said.

Māori members too, Dr Stone said, could feel certain their representation was strong on Council, with the election of Ms Kewene and Ms Hamiora.

End

Media contact: Dr Prudence Stone  027 289 8987

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Letter to the Listener 28 July 2017 in response to Fever Pitch (Listener 21 July 2017)

Catherine Woulfe’s thorough investigation of rheumatic fever brings to the surface a range of important questions not only about this cruel disease, but also wider issues about health policy. The Government’s bold initiative to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever as one of its 'Better Public Service' targets in 2012 certainly raised awareness of rheumatic fever for the general public as well as communities and families directly affected. But even when medical science and the public have a clearer understanding of the immediate causes of rheumatic fever, interventions like the $65m ‘sore throats matter’ still won’t stop the epidemic. 

Ramona Tiatia’s blunt description of the experience of affected families not only painted a picture of the impact on affected families and communities, it also highlighted the invidious choices our health funders face.  How much should we prioritise health spending between response to the urgent need of young people whose lives and potential can be devastated by the disease versus the expense of addressing the economic and social factors that underlie the reasons we have this epidemic at all?   

As several of the clinicians interviewed pointed out, it’s only when the poverty and over-crowded housing issues are addressed that we will make a real difference.

Rheumatic fever illustrates the contradictions in our health system identified in the recent American Commonwealth Fund report. Of the 11 countries the Fund monitors, the work our health professionals do is ranked among the highest. But our overall performance as a health system falls to the middle ranking because of our poor performance on access and equity. The Fund also notes that our per capita expenditure is among the cheapest. 

Failure to invest in real prevention - that is, poverty, housing, good nutrition etc. - will continue to drive conditions like rheumatic fever, whether the immediate cause is strep throat or skin sores, until we invest upstream.

Why not spend more on these conditions - the economic and social determinants of health? 

We all pay in the long run - the young people whose misery we tolerate and whose potential remains unfulfilled, the families whose sacrifices are unrewarded, and the taxpayer who picks up the tab.

Ngā mihi,
Warren Lindberg

CE Public Health Association of New Zealand

                                            

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