Many health and research organisations are working to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Healthier Lives collaborates with partners, stakeholders and others who share our vision of Aotearoa with equitable health outcomes and a lower burden of non-communicable diseases.
Health research needs to be relevant to people’s lives and useful in the real world. That’s why Healthier Lives values partnerships with community and clinical stakeholders who can identify what research is needed, co-design projects, and implement research findings.
Our researchers create and work with scientific knowledge. Patients, community organisations, health service providers and policy-makers also have valuable knowledge and experience.
Sharing knowledge and considering multiple perspectives means the outcomes of research become more useful and long-lasting.
Understanding research evidence helps to interpret competing, and sometimes confusing, messages about health and wellbeing.
Healthier Lives participates in media commentary, outreach activities and public events to reach the widest possible audience and translate research findings so that others can use them.
Increasing understanding about how to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases is a step towards improving the health of New Zealanders.
Partners & Stakeholders
Healthier Lives collaborates with many partners and stakeholders. For example:
- Māori and Pacific health and community service providers, such as Toi Tangata, The Fono, South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services, Te Kōhao Health, Poutiri Charitable Trust and National Hauora Coalition, have co-designed Healthier Lives research, disseminated and implemented research findings, and provided advice on research priorities;
- The Heart Foundation and Healthier Lives have co-funded the ACCESS research project to address the systemic barriers faced by Maori and Pacific people in accessing treatment for cardiovascular disease;
- Diabetes NZ and Healthier Lives are collaborating with others in research to investigate the rising cost of diabetes in New Zealand;
- The Health Research Council, the Ministry of Health and Healthier Lives have co-funded five research projects in the Long-Term Conditions Partnership;
- The health and wellbeing National Science Challenges – A Better Start, Healthier Lives and Ageing Well – have co-funded research to investigate the impact of non-communicable diseases across the life-course;
- Ageing Well and Healthier Lives have co-funded research to investigate the impact of urban design on health and wellbeing.
Commitment to collaborative and co-designed research
Research has helped to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders over many decades but some groups within our communities have not benefited as much as others.
To address this inequity, Healthier Lives co-designs research projects in partnership with the end-users of research. One example is the He Pikinga Waiora project which set out to find ways of creating more effective health interventions for Māori communities.
The research team included a clinical researcher from a district health board (DHB), community-based researchers attached to Māori health services, and academics from several research institutions. As a starting point, the project team developed a kaupapa Māori planning framework which draws on principles such as community engagement, systems thinking, knowledge sharing and cultural understanding.
The next step was to use the framework to co-design and evaluate health interventions in partnership with Māori health providers. The team learned that how things are done can be just as important as what is done. They co-created two health interventions which both proved to be acceptable to their communities, as well as effective at reducing clinical risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Other groups have also used the He Pikinga Waiora framework to achieve good results. For example:
- Harti Hauora Tamariki, a child health programme, was co-designed with paediatric nurses and the parents of hospitalised children. It used the framework to develop screening and follow-up packages for children in hospital which are designed to support their ongoing health and avoid unnecessary future hospitalisations.
- The Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Pilot for Māori used the framework to achieve an outstanding 78% participation rate and is now being rolled out by Auckland and Waitematā DHBs to save lives.
This work demonstrates our commitment to collaborative and co-designed research – a hallmark of Healthier Lives projects – which can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
Translating research evidence for a wide audience
New Zealanders want to enjoy long, active lives. Health and wellbeing are essential to all of us.
Non-communicable diseases are some of the most complex health problems facing us today. However, there is a lot we can do to prevent and manage these diseases, and it is much easier if we understand the research evidence.
Healthier Lives works closely with partners and stakeholders to translate research for the widest possible audience. For example:
- Together with Diabetes New Zealand and Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research (EDOR), we commissioned an investigation of the economic and social cost of Type 2 diabetes in New Zealand, which models the cost-effectiveness of several health interventions. This information will be valuable for government policy-makers.
- We partnered with EDOR to support the Pacific Rugby Players to start a talanoa or conversation about good health in Pacific communities. We provided practical advice based on science and the Pacific Rugby Players initiated the MaiBody, MaiFuture social media campaign.
- We participated in outreach projects with young people:
o Project Activate
o students investigate diabetes and obesity
o Cancer communication outside the box.
- Healthier Lives researchers regularly comment in the media to inform the New Zealand public on a wide range of health topics.
- Our research findings briefs convey the key messages of completed research projects for a lay audience.
Increasing New Zealanders’ understanding of science will help to improve our collective health and wellbeing.
Get Involved, Stay Informed
Please contact us if you would like to be involved and think we can work together.
We are interested to hear what you’re doing in your community to tackle non-communicable diseases.
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