Ongoing commitment to reduce health inequities for Māori supported with more HRC funding

University of Waikato health researchers have scored additional funding to advance their commitment to reducing inequities in the treatment and care of Māori with Type-2 diabetes (T2D).

22 Feb 2024

Associate Professor Lynne Chepulis and Associate Professor Medicine, Dr Ryan Paul.

The Health Research Council have awarded $1.4 million to the project Technology and Kaiāwhina-Based Support to Optimise Diabetes Management for Māori. The project will commence in October 2024.

Academic lead and Associate Professor of Health, Dr Lynne Chepulis, says healthcare inequity between Māori and non-Māori is significant.

“We need system-level changes to improve outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples, including for T2D where health outcomes are consistently worse for Māori,” she says.

University researchers will work in partnership with kaupapa Māori provider Te Puna Hauora Matua O Hauraki, Primary Healthcare Organisation.

The study is working to develop a primary care-led model of care that can be implemented into practice to support ongoing T2D management for Māori.

“Addressing these barriers to achieve equity for those with the highest risk glucose levels requires a multi-faceted approach that is holistic in nature.”

“The work will provide valuable evidence regarding which primary care systems are most associated with equity and optimising T2D care, as well as suggestions for change based on local consultation,” says Dr Chepulis.

The work will use a Randomised Control Trial to evaluate two separate interventions: kaiāwhina (non-regulated healthcare workers) and optimised clinical input with, and without, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology.

The researchers anticipate that the use of a wrap-around programme encompassing CGM, alongside clinical and kaiāwhina-based support, will empower whānau living with T2D, and significantly improve health outcomes for those with poor glycaemic control.

University of Waikato Endocrinologist Dr Ryan Paul (Ngāti Maru, Hauraki) is part of the team providing clinical and academic oversight.

“It is also imperative that we develop a model of care that can be implemented long-term into primary care that can sustainably engage with Māori with T2D and their whānau.”

Other University researchers in the team include Professor Ross Lawrenson, social scientist and qualitative researcher Dr Hamish Crocket, biostatistician Dr Chunhuan Lao, and emerging Māori health researcher Rebekah Crosswell (Whakatōhea).

The Health Research Council acknowledged the study underscores the need for innovative models of care, especially tailored to regional rural settings.

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