Our people

Cath Conn
Director

Cath has worked for 40 years in public health and international development in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. She is the Director of the Child and Youth Health Research Centre (CYHRC) and Associate Head of School, Public Health and Psychosocial Studies.

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Tineke Water
Co-Director

Tineke has worked as a Registered Nurse, lecturer and researcher in the area of child/youth and family health for the last 25 years. Tineke's research expertise is in participatory art-based research with children, humanitarian response, public health and disaster/emergency response.

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Erica Hinckson
Co-Director

Progressing research that benefits people and communities has been an overriding theme of Erica’s career. She focuses on translational research – research that can be applied for the benefit of people and communities.

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Annette Dickinson
Co-Director

Annette comes from a strong clinical background of paediatric nursing. Prior to taking up a position at AUT in 2000 she held a number of leadership positions at Starship Children’s Hospital including, Respiratory Nurse Specialist, Nurse Consultant (Quality/Research) and Nurse Advisor.

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Elaine Rush
Co-Director

Elaine has been involved in health and education for all her working career. In 2014 she was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to health and in 2019 as Professor Emeritus in recognition of her long and distinguished service to the University.

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Nadia Charania
Member

Nadia has research expertise in the areas of public health and infectious disease prevention and control. She specialises in qualitative research and participatory action research with a focus on community participation and knowledge translation.

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Carol Maibvisira
Member

Carol's current research interests encompass: sexual health, HIV prevention, social inequities, critical youth voice, participatory and action research designs, policy design and implementation.

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Daniel Fernandez
Member

Daniel’s background is in oral health, and he has expertise in dental materials, local anaesthesia, deep caries management, dental extractions, mouthguard fabrication, communicating with children, operative dentistry, and clinical supervision.

Dinar Lubis
Member

Dinar is a lecturer in the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department in the Medical Faculty at Udayana University in Bali, and a research consultant at Bali's Center for Public Health and Innovation.

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Erika Ikeda
Member

Erika has a passion for research on children’s physical activity, active transport and independent mobility.

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Gloria Faesen Kloet
Member

Gloria has an interest in public health, especially youth health, international development and Pacific health. Her professional experience includes working in the community in a variety of areas including lifestyle coaching, workforce development, the Auckland-wide Healthy Homes Initiative (AWHI) and the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme.

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Jo Woods
Member

Jo is currently undertaking doctoral research on the interpretations of policy and practice professionals’ experiences and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: the ‘child only journey' from Aotearoa New Zealand hospital birth to stranger care research.

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Julie Blamires
Member

Julie is a lecturer in nursing in the School of Clinical Sciences. Julie’s clinical expertise comes from a variety of specialty areas in child and youth health where she worked for over 25 years. Her current research interests include quality of life and the impact of chronic illness on children, young people and their whanau; respiratory disease and the impact of fatigue on young people and health literacy among children with chronic illness. Julie completed her doctoral study in 2020 which explored the experience of young people living with bronchiectasis.

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julie.blamires@aut.ac.nz

Losi Sa'uLilo
Member

Losi's research involves working with youth entrepreneurs in Samoa, co-designing and promoting fruit and vegetable enterprises to help reduce the prevalence of non-communicable disease such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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Renu Sisodia
Member

Renu's research aims to create a space for marginalised indigenous Sahariya youth to improve access to safe water in Rajasthan state in northern India.

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Sarah Williams
Member

Sarah has been working in child health for over 30 years, and is currently working as Nurse Consultant for Starship Community at Auckland District Health Board. Her doctoral research explores the relationship between primary schools and health services in New Zealand.

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sarahwilliams@xtra.co.nz

Susan Platt
Member

Susan is a senior lecturer in nursing in the School of Clinical Sciences.  Susan’s past nursing experience centres mainly around acute surgical areas.  As a doctoral candidate, she is currently undertaking research on primary nurses experiences when working with children who live with abuse/neglect.  She has been involved in child protection policy development for local, regional and national sporting organisations.

susan.platt@aut.ac.nz

Paul Ripley
Member

Paul is a lecturer in nursing in the School of Clinical Sciences, AUT. Paul’s nursing experience has seen him practice in a number of different child health clinical roles. As a doctoral candidate he is currently undertaking research on health literacy and the experiences, perceptions and understanding of young people from refugee backgrounds.

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paul.ripley@aut.ac.nz

Sally Britnell
Member

Sally is a lecturer in the School of Clinical Science, her research areas include weight estimation paediatric resuscitation and the design, development and testing of mobile application which uses computer vision and augmented reality to streamline this process during resuscitation. Other areas include health informatics and innovation in tertiary education.

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sally.britnell@aut.ac.nz

Wambui Thuita
Member

Wambui Thuita is a sociologist/public health expert with extensive knowledge in providing technical leadership in conceptualizing, managing and monitoring community health programmes in East Africa. Her passion lies in working on programmes associated with marginalized groups; such as, women and young adults in Kenya, her native land.

Yadav Gurung
Member

Yadav lives and works in Nepal and his research involves the health and well-being of young people. His professional experience includes working with marginalised and indigenous young people to improve their sexual and reproductive health, menstrual health and hygiene management, youth health risk behaviours.

Francesca Hopkins
Member

Francesca Hopkins is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science at Auckland University of Technology. She teaches yoga in her community and her teaching contributes to the wellbeing of her immediate community. Her goal is to attain deeper connections to the holism of community health and wellbeing through academic qualification. The Health Sciences degree is about providing her with skills and knowledge relating to the public health system here in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

hopkins.francesca@gmail.com

McDonald William Nyalapa
Member

McDonald Nyalapa is a health researcher, from Malawi and Southern Africa, with a passion to improve the health of people in low-income countries in the advent of the double burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases.

AUT 3MT competition presentation
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Safua Akeli Amaama
Member

Safua is the Head of New Zealand and Pacific Histories and Cultures at the Te Papa Museum. Previously, she was Director of the Centre for Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa (2018-20). From 2008-13, she was Curator Pacific Cultures at Te Papa. She is a history graduate from the University of Queensland and has research interests in cultural heritage, health, migration, gender and governance.

safua.akeli.amaama@tepapa.govt.nz

Ayan Said
Member

Ayan has been working in health promotion and education for over a decade. Her current research aims create a space for young internally displaced Somali women to develop ideas for reproductive health services in Puntland, Somalia. She is currently a PhD student at AUT.

Margaret Jones
Member

Margaret is an occupational therapist with over 20 years practice experience in children’s rehabilitation working with children with acquired brain injury. Her research is focused on children’s participation in occupation, the social influences on their participation, and the ways participation relates to children’s health, learning and development.

Fernanda (Fern) Pereira
Member

Fern is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health Programme at AUT. Her main interests are in public health child nutrition, sustainable food systems, empowerment of children and whānau and planetary health. Fern is founder and director of Clean Plate, which takes a holistic approach to healthy living and wellbeing, offering menu solutions and workshops. Fern’s goal is to link the latest research in public and environmental health to her community work.

Student profile

Balakrishnan (Bala) Nair
Member

Bala is interested in research on vertical public health programmes and ideas that appreciate utilisation of local knowledge for future public health initiatives. His research reflections from India’s healthcare policy design expounds a larger issue of system design. His research looks at sociocultural norms that increased the vulnerability of HRGs to contract HIV, aiming to expand the definitions of HIV from being a communicable disease to a complex sociocultural problem.

Shoba Nayar
Member

Shoba trained as an occupational therapist and mental health clinician and has a special interest in working with immigrant and refugee communities to promote health and well-being. She is currently based in India where she works a freelance academic supporting emerging researchers and clinicians in developing their skills in qualitative research methodologies and writing for publication.

shoba.nayar@aut.ac.nz

Adetoun Nnabugwu
Member

Adetoun has been active in the research and development space for more than a decade in local and international settings. Currently, she is pursuing her doctorate degree at Auckland University of Technology. Her research interests centres on digital health, young people and their sexual and reproductive health needs. Her educational and work experiences complements her skills in quality project delivery and evaluation.