ROLE CALL: Victory for team Came; Wahine Māori’s first with Pharmac; New president for RCPA


ROLE CALL: Victory for team Came; Wahine Māori’s first with Pharmac; New president for RCPA

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Keeping up with people on the move and gaining recognition in the health sector

Victory for team Came 

Heather Came is this year’s Kāhui Hauora Tūmatanui Public Health Champion.

“It feels like a victory for every person who has stood beside me,” says Dr Came, associate professor and head of the Public Health Department at the AUT School of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The award is made by the Public Health Association of New Zealand.

One of New Zealand’s first AIDS workers, Dr Came worked with the then Taranaki Area Health Board in the 1990s, saying it took her 10 years to establish herself, as she had been “living in a bubble”. “[My] life as a bisexual feminist was on the margins. I just thought it was ordinary,” Dr Came says in a media release.

Moving into health promotion and then Māori health, she says she witnessed institutional racism. She obtained a master’s in political science, and then, in her PhD, introduced a new way of mapping racism and enabled targeted anti-racism interventions.

Founder of STIR: Stop Institutional Racism, she is also a co-principal investigator on Marsden Fund research about reimagining anti-racism for the health sector.

Dr Came has contributed to the recognition of institutional racism as a modifiable determinant of health and her advocacy efforts have contributed to the development of a forthcoming national action plan on racism, says AUT in the release.

She is a former Public Health Association executive member and founder of the AUT branch of the PHA.

The association’s chief executive, Grant Berghan, himself a previous recipient, presented Dr Came with the award. Mr Berghan says: “Heather is an exceptional human being, and she works tirelessly to make this world a better place for us all. He Rangatira ia.”

Public health champion Heather Came
Wahine Māori’s first with Pharmac 

Jane Thomas (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) becomes Pharmac’s chair of the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) next month.

A paediatric anaesthetist and pain medicine specialist at Starship Children’s Hospital and the Auckland Regional Pain Service, Dr Thomas is the first wahine Māori and first Māori to chair PTAC. She has served on PTAC for nine years.

Pharmac chief executive Sarah Fitt says Dr Thomas brings a wealth of experience from her more than 20 years at Starship Hospital, as well as “huge passion for equity in health outcomes”.

In a Pharmac media release, Dr Thomas says: “We often have to be pragmatic and understand the bigger picture when considering funding of medicines, but in being part of PTAC, my knowledge which comes from interacting face-to-face with Kiwis in need of help is what’s so important and useful to the whole PTAC process…

“Pharmac and PTAC are really pushing for equitable outcomes for all New Zealanders. I’m truly honoured and grateful to be in a position where I can help alleviate some of these inequities through PTAC’s recommendations to Pharmac.”

Dr Thomas replaces Mark Weatherall, who has served on PTAC since 2008 and as PTAC’s chair since 2015. Dr Weatherall still sits on the haematology and neurology advisory committees.

Jane Thomas, first Māori chair of PTAC
New president for RCPA 

Sonic Pathology Australia chief medical officer Lawrie Bott has been appointed president of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Dr Bott has been vice-president for two years and has served on multiple college committees. He takes over from Michael Dray, who has come to the end of a two-year term. Dr Dray has “offered us all great support, guidance and clarity during his presidency,” says RCPA chief executive Debra Graves in a media release. Dr Dray is a consultant histopathologist at Waikato DHB.

Lawrie Bott

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