We continue to celebrate Pasifika success in academia with the recent announcement of the HRC Career Development Awards. Congratulations to Dr Analosa Veukiso-Ulugia who was awarded a three-year Pacific Postdoctoral Fellowship and will be supported by Moana Research in partnership with the University of Auckland. Dr Veukiso-Ulugia is no stranger to the Moana Research family, as a registered social worker, she provides valuable insights in our work with Pacific social service agencies.
This Fellowship will enable Dr Veukiso-Ulugia to further her research in Pacific sexual reproductive health and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr Veukiso-Ulugia and the team will embark on an exciting journey in developing Pacific sexuality education resources to support teachers of young Pacific learners. Her Advisory team includes Ms Jacinta Fa’alili-Fidow, Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick and Associate Professor Damon Salesa and she will work alongside our very own Dr Seini Taufa and Amio Ikihele. We are in awe of her growing perseverance and passion to shift the narrative in this space and improve the health and well-being of Pacific communities.
The Health Research Council has awarded Dr Analosa Veukiso-Ulugia a Pacific Postdoctoral Fellowship ($442K) with Moana Research in partnership with the University of Auckland (UoA). Dr Veukiso-Ulugia’s project ‘Nesian Narratives – Enhancing sexuality education for Pacific communities”’ will involve the development, pilot and evaluation of a Pacific resource toolkit consisting of sexuality education curriculum-based lesson plans and related resources for teachers of Pacific children. This toolkit will complement existing efforts in the field of Aotearoa New Zealand sexuality education. Dr Veukiso-Ulugia’s desire is that our Pacific children are well supported, continue to develop a positive and culturally affirming view about themselves, and recognise signs of healthy and harmful behaviour.
During this three-year project Dr Veukiso-Ulugia will be hosted by Moana Research and the University of Auckland. She is excited of the opportunities that will arise from this collaborative partnership, particularly mentoring support from three well-established leaders in their respective fields: Jacinta Fa’alili-Fidow (Moana Research Chief Executive), Associate Professor Damon Salesa (University of Auckland) and Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick (University of Auckland).
“Being supported by Jacinta, Katie, Damon and the Moana Research team will enable me to be regularly connected with such a talented group consisting of both established as well as emerging leaders. I can only imagine the new skills, knowledge and experiences that I will gain from this partnership project. I am excited about the opportunity to work with Dr Seini Taufa and Amio Ikihele, who were also former recipients of HRC Pacific Career Development awards, and have also explored sexual health issues with their respective Pacific (Tongan and Niuean) communities”
For the past four years, Dr Veukiso-Ulugia has been a lecturer at the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work at the University of Auckland. She is a registered social worker and holds a Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Public Policy and a PhD from Massey University.
Dr Veukiso-Ulugia’s previous research projects and leadership span community and government interests, including the development of the ‘Best Practice Framework for the delivery of Sexual Health Promotion Services to Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand’ commissioned by the Ministry Health. She is a currently serving as a member on the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) and the Auckland Council Pacific People’s Advisory Panel.
In accepting this fellowship, Dr Veukiso-Ulugia recognises that there are many strengths within Pacific families and communities.
“How can we as Pacific peoples channel our values in a way that can support a positive view of sexuality and sexual health?’
recognising that in New Zealand, Pacific communities reportedly have lower rates of contraceptive use, higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia & gonorrhoea), higher levels of reported unwanted sexual contact as well as higher rates of congenital syphilis.
Accordingly, Dr Veukiso-Ulugia’s Postdoctoral Fellowship will see her conduct research that will add a valuable contribution to the small but growing body of Pacific sexual health knowledge within the Aotearoa New Zealand context and the importance of early and holistic responses that span health promotion, education and workforce development:
“Not only does this Fellowship culminate in the development of a Pacific sexuality education resource toolkit for New Zealand primary schools, but it is also an investment in the Pacific sexual health research workforce.”
Dr Veukiso-Ulugia’s three-year HRC Fellowship ‘Nesian Narratives: Enhancing sexuality education for Pacific communities” will begin in March 2021.