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Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma is a consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and champion of Pacific health. He is the Head of the Pacific Women’s Health Research & Development Unit (PWHRDU, founder) and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland.

In September 2018, Aiono Prof. Ekeroma will become Head of Department of O&G at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Wellington. He has also been appointed as the founding Professor of Medicine at the National University of Samoa. Aiono Prof. Ekeroma is the Editor-in-Chief of the Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health (founder) and Pacific Health Dialog.

Aiono Prof. Ekeroma grew up in Samoa and studied medicine in Papua New Guinea. He worked in Samoa for 2 years before leaving for NZ to specialise in O&G. In 2017, he received his PhD from the University of Auckland. His areas of expertise include: Stillbirth, Research Capacity Building, Pacific Womens’ Health, Vitamin D, Medical Curriculum, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, and Global Health. His research portfolio includes a collaborative project with the University of Otago to pilot a point of care HPV test for cervical screening in Samoa, mapping the O&G workforce in the Pacific Islands and the Pacific Islands Cervical Cancer Survey.

Aiono Prof. Ekeroma is a leader of initiatives to grow and support the Pacific health workforce and improve health outcomes for Pacific peoples. He established the first CPD programme for O&G specialists working in the Pacific Islands and was a founding member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA). He has received numerous awards including the RANZCOG Distinguished Service Medal in 2015 and an award from the Pacific Medical Association in 2006 for Excellent Service to Pacific Health.



Please check back soon for Dr Sika-Paotonu's bio!



Dr Colin Tukuitonga has served as Pacific Community Director-General since January 2014. He was formerly the Director of SPC’s Public Health Division. He was a member of an Independent External Review of SPC in 2012.

His previous roles include: Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs; Associate Professor of Public Health and Head of Pacific and International Health at the University of Auckland; Director of Public Health, New Zealand Ministry of Health; and Head of Surveillance and Prevention of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organization, Switzerland.

Dr Tukuitonga has also served in various leadership and management roles, including at the Fiji School of Medicine, the Auckland District Health Board, Northern Regional Health Authority (Auckland), University of Auckland and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

He is a former Board member of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation. Additionally, Dr Tukuitonga was a commissioner for the World Health Organization (WHO) global Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity from 2014 until its work concluded in early 2016.



Professor Robert Beaglehole trained in medicine, epidemiology and public health in New Zealand, England and the USA before becoming a public health physician.

He is now an independent global public health practitioner with a focus on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. He chairs ASH NZ, the Lancet NCD Action Group and the Scientific and Technical Expert Group (STEG) in the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community (SPC).

He is Professor Emeritus of the University of Auckland having held the position of Professor of Community Health from 1988-1999. In 2000, he joined the staff of the World Health Organisation where he was director of the Department of Chronic Disease and Health Promotion between 2004-2007.

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Dr Rose Richards-Hessell is Associate Dean (Pacific) for the Dunedin School of Medicine and the Director of the new Centre for Pacific Health, in the Division of Health Sciences.

Rose’s academic background is in behavioural psychology and public health and she contributes to research in a variety of areas including sleep, obesity, mental health, dental health, big data and tobacco control.

In 2017 she was successful in obtaining a three year HRC Pacific Project Grant to explore the potential role of sleep in supporting good health among Pacific families.