AUT receives funding for Pacific health study on ageing

05 Dec, 2016
AUT receives funding for Pacific health study on ageing
Dr El-Shadan Tautolo at AUT South Campus

The Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study at AUT South Campus has been awarded almost $1 million for innovative research as part of the ‘Ageing Well’ National Science Challenge.

The new participatory research project will examine the factors that older Pacific people consider to be important to their own health and wellbeing.

This approach differs from traditional research in that the power resides with the participants, who control the agenda, process and actions – the aim being to develop and implement solutions in conjunction with the end-user.

“By involving participants as co-researchers, we are supporting Pacific people in their ability to create the changes that they want to see,” says Dr El-Shadan Tautolo, Director of the Centre for Pacific Health and PIF Study at AUT.

The Healthy Pacific Grandparents Study will recruit participants from the PIF Study.

For 16 years, the PIF Study has tracked the health and development of 1,398 Pacific children and their families within the home environment.

All of the children were born at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital in 2000.

It is the only prospective study of Pacific people in the world.

The ongoing longitudinal study aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Pacific people, and address the social disparities that they face in New Zealand.

More than 100 scientific research papers have been published as a result.

“It is only by working collectively in this space that we can ensure a successful future for Pacific people – young and old,” says Dr Tautolo.

“This funding will go a long way in continuing that work.”

The ‘Ageing Well’ National Science Challenge aims to add life to years for older New Zealanders by harnessing science to sustain health and wellbeing.

This year’s contestable funding round saw $3.25 million awarded across four research projects that address the specific challenges faced by ageing Māori and Pacific people, including intergenerational relationships and the experiences of older generations.

It is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).