PhD student sought for research project on elimination of tuberculosis among Māori

November 23, 2023

Nau mai haere mai.


Join us for a three-year PhD studentship within the Centre for International Health, University of Otago.

The team is a collaboration between researchers in the Waikato region and the University of Otago. We have a Health Research Council (HRC) research project entitled “Elimination of tuberculosis (TB) for Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ)”.

This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the development of new ways of working in the health system and address inequities, working within a research project and a Māori model of care.

You will work in a collaborative team with members from Te Whatu Ora Waikato and Te Aka Whai Ora to engage in kaupapa Māori research and evaluation and link with Māori and indigenous research and networks.

TB, which is preventable, is a leading infectious disease globally. In New Zealand (NZ) the majority of people with TB are born outside this country. However, TB is a disease of colonisation and among NZ-born cases, half are Māori. The rate of TB for Māori is 3.6 per 100,000. This is over five times the 0.7 per 100,000 rate in NZ Europeans.

Māori-led targeted approaches and strategies are needed to reach Māori at risk of TB and address the determinants of TB. Engaging Māori TB contact networks should therefore take a holistic approach to health needs, seek to enhance hauora gain for whānau, and eliminate inequities, while dealing sensitively with stigma.

We propose to do this by providing access to high quality hauora services for whānau and communities that we engage with through our study, which could become part of an integrated national approach to eliminate TB in the long term.

The project, which is based in the Waikato region, will co-design an approach, and includes the following phases:

  1. Situational analysis, engagement, development and input from kaupapa partners;
  2. Development of a health needs assessment and hauora programme for whānau;
  3. Recruitment of participants and undertaking of the hauora programme and screening for TB and latent TB infection;
  4. Qualitative exploration of the experience and views of Māori whānau, and other partners regarding the approach, and analysis of data;
  5. Development of the template model for a hauora-enhancing approach to TB case contact management in NZ.

This PhD studentship will work under the supervision of the study’s principal investigators Professor Philip Hill and Dr Nina Scod (Ngāti Whātua, Waikato, Ngāpuhi), and alongside kaupapa partners to undertake and evaluate phases 1-3 of the project and provide input into phases 4-5.

Applicants must have a master’s degree in a health, or wider health-related field, with an average grade at or equivalent to at least B+.

This project is to develop a Māori model of care for control and elimination of TB, therefore it is imperative that the candidate is of Māori ethnicity and is happy to be based in the Waikato region for many months at a time, while also visiting academic supervisors at the University of Otago, Dunedin, as required.

We are looking for a candidate who:

  • is willing and ready to collaborate with others in the community and in the research team to achieve optimal results
  • has strong interpersonal, relational skills
  • has an understanding of research or kaupapa Māori research and is willing to learn
  • has strong organisational capabilities
  • understands tikanga Māori, te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori and is able to engage appropriately in Māori settings.

NZ$30,696 tax-free stipend per annum plus a domestic fees waiver for 36 months (excludes student services fee and insurance).

There may be the opportunity, depending on qualifications and need, to also work part-time on the project, and receive a salary for doing so.

Applicants should submit their CV and a covering letter, including full contact details of two referees (one of whom should be a current employer), to either: Dr Amy Jones ([email protected]) or Dr Sue McAllister ([email protected]). University of Otago PhD entry requirements must be met and the successful applicant will subsequently need to apply online.

For further information, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. Closing date: Friday, December 8, 2023

Amy Jones, Te Whatu Ora Waikato
Sue McAllister, University of Otago