Tamariki Pakari's research philosophy transects the boundaries between health intervention and prevention. As a team, we are positioned at the interface of Indigenous knowledge and inquiry, and prevailing healthcare and Western scientific models.
Tamariki Pakari's child health and wellbeing programme currently has 5 key themes:
- community outreach and workforce development,
- healthy environments (prevention),
- healthy lifestyle clinical services (intervention),
- participant interface with the healthcare system, and
- health systems change and implementation.
These themes aim to explore the social determinants of health and health systems themselves with the goal of developing culturally appropriate, equitable, successful health delivery models that are person-centred, engaging with the communities that they are part of.
Through our past work, we recognise the importance of knowledge-sharing and working within the community, with community driving the research narrative to develop home-grown solutions as much as possible. Tamariki Pakari is committed to supporting strong relationships between health and the community, optimising ways to achieve greater health knowledge in children and families. For us, a key part of outreach is supporting health workforce development.
Children and families live in communities, and when these communities are “obesogenic”, or obesity-promoting, it is difficult to achieve persistent healthy lifestyle change. An example of current work in this area is supporting transdisciplinary collaborators to map the food and physical activity environment for children in Taranaki, to further understand how we can improve the environment we live in to enhance child health and wellbeing.
Healthy lifestyle clinical services
Addressing health equity is central to our work. We focus on developing services that are accessible and appropriate, and that are people-centred in their approach. Wherever possible, we aim to demedicalise services, taking best-practice healthcare outside of hospital walls and into the community without compromising quality of care. Our current focus is the development of the Healthy Lifestyle Check IT application (digital technology), which provides an “expert” in the pocket of the healthy lifestyle coordinator to provide individualised care and recommendations within the home.
Our work prioritises participant voice wherever possible. Through the development of the Healthy Lifestyle Check IT application, we have sought participant feedback from consent right through to how participants and families receive their health feedback. We are working with the paediatric diabetes community to support enhanced services for children affected by diabetes.
Exploring health systems change & implementation
Healthcare is changing rapidly. Our research vision is to find innovative solutions to deliver healthcare services to enhance child and family health and wellbeing, to move away from system- and clinician-centred approaches wherever possible. We have a strong focus on the translation and implementation of research findings into practice, and work closely with stakeholders to achieve this.