Previously medically-focused, the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health has broadened its programme to embrace a range of disciplines including nursing, health promotion, nutrition, social work, physiotherapy and others interested in public health. The new Public Health programmes now offer greater flexibility for students, and the opportunity for general as well as new discipline-specific qualifications, says convener of the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) Department of Public Health programme, Associate Professor Diana Sarfati.  “Public health is a diverse and vital area, encompassing all aspects of our lives.  Students can develop skills in health promotion, epidemiology, health economics, environment and health, public health research, hauora Māori, how society affects health, and much more.” Public health training opens up a number of career opportunities, she says.   “Regardless of which aspect of public health interests you, it is a field in which you will really make a difference.” The programmes continue to be offered from all three campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington and enquiries are welcome from those with an undergraduate degree in any discipline. The latest new 15 point papers are taught in half semester terms enabling students to structure their study around family and work commitments. There are 21 papers on offer, including several distance options, providing students the opportunity to put together a broad programme of study, or tailor their qualification to their interests. Enrolments for 2015 are now open, visit www.otago.ac.nz/publichealth for further information. Courses begin at the end of February 2015. university-of-otago-public-health   Jo Lawrence-King 1 December 2014  

Video, What is HP
Health Promotion Forum is proud to announce the launch of two short information videos to inform health promotion practice. The first – What is health promotion? – provides an Aotearoa New Zealand perspective on health promotion; its scope, potential and the focus of its work.   The second – Health promotion competencies – explain the scope and potential uses for the competencies. HPF’s Senior Health Promotion Strategist Karen Hicks was the mastermind behind the creation of these videos.  “This could be the start of greater understanding of the crucial work done by health promoters in Aotearoa New Zealand,” she said.  The purpose behind the videos was to make it easier for health promoters around the country to understand the scope and potential of their role – as well as to have a way of explaining it to other.   “I encourage all my wonderful colleagues out there to share these videos with their friends, family, colleagues and managers,” said Karen. – See more at: http://www.hauora.co.nz/new-videos-shed-light-on-health-promotion-in-new-zealand.html#sthash.O2plPbZ6.dpuf

Maori, What is HP
A new paper, published in UK publication Ethnicity and Health in June, indicates we have a way to go to address ongoing inequities for Māori and other indigenous groups.  It points out that, in the Aotearoa context, Te Tiriti o Waitangi “is a legislative, policy and professional imperative for the public health community.”   HPF Deputy Executive Director, Trevor Simpson has co-authored the paper, which finds that there is variable application of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and there is room for further development in many areas of the New Zealand public health service.  It points to Treaty Understanding of Hauora in Aotearoa-New Zealand (TUHA-NZ) as “landmark document” and an essential tool to operationalise the policies outlined in Te Tiriti.   The paper Realising the rhetoric: Refreshing public health providers’ efforts to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Aotearoa, New Zealand investigates the ways public health units and non-governmental organisations meet their Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations in terms of service delivery to Māori. Drawing on data from a nationwide survey of public health providers the article argues New Zealand public health providers can strengthen efforts to advance tino rangatiratanga (Māori control over things Māori) in every day practice.   Trevor worked alongside Heather Came (Senior Lecture, Auckland University of Technology), Tim McCreanor (Associate Professor Massey University) and Claire Doole, (Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology), to bring this important paper to fruition.   The work was supported with a grant from the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology.  

What is HP
Mt Wellington (Auckland) based PHO Alliance Health Plus Trust (AH+) announced in July the establishment of the Alliance Community Initiatives Trust (ACIT). This is a standalone charitable trust aiming to address the social determinants of health ‘one social determinant of wellbeing at a time for one person at a time in one NZ community at a time.’  It will focus initially on Mangere in South Auckland. “Complex health and well-being problems require common denominator solutions that cut across multiple domains including social, economic, cultural and environmental,” says AH+ Chairman, Mr Uluomatootua (Ulu) Aiono.  “At both AH+ and ACIT we know gains are temporary unless we identify the common denominator and eliminate the root cause through critical thinking based grass roots interventions in the demand side. A critical prerequisite for this is collaboration amongst frontline service providers.” ACIT aims to collect data to “identify common denominators and pin down the root cause.” Commenting on the new initiative, HPF Deputy Executive Director Trevor Simpson said “It’s great to see primary health care organisations are looking into the determinants space, health equity and looking at bottom up, top down interventions. This is a health promotion approach.” Trevor pointed out the existing data available to ACIT – and any other organisation working on addressing the social determinants of health.  This includes, for example, the deprivation index, disease distribution studies, reports from groups such as Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Health Education Health Promotion Policy Research Unit (HePPRU – Otago University) “I’m sure ACIT is aware that the frameworks for implementing this project are already in place in the form of the Ottawa Charter and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.” The strands of the Ottawa Charter provide for the ACIT’s work:
  • Building healthy public policy,
  • Strengthening community action,
  • Creating supportive environments,
  • Developing personal skills and
  • Reorienting health services.
“Te Tiriti o Waitangi adds in a political, moral, ethical and rights based imperative to act”, adds Trevor.  “We look forward to working alongside another organisation coming on board with the concepts of health promotion.” acit-logo