Collaborating for Pasifika Allied Health



Guest Blog: Alexis Cameron, PAHANZ Co-Chair

Pasifika Allied Health Aotearoa NZ (PAHANZ) is hosting an inaugural symposium on 17 August in Auckland and invite all current and potential Pasifika allied health workers to join us.

PAHANZ was established as a means of deliberate and intentional efforts to further develop Pasifika Allied Health. Launched at the Allied Health conference in Wellington last year, PAHANZ is composed of like-minded professionals who seek to serve the health and wellbeing aspirations of our Pacific communities through culturally responsive systems design and delivery, and Pasifika Allied Health workforce development.

This month the Waitangi Tribunal released their report Hauora – the first set of findings from its kaupapa inquiry into health services and outcomes (Wai 2575). I am by no means an expert on this subject matter and the value truly lies within the detail of the report. I believe this to be relevant to Pasifika Health in terms of the prevalence of manifestations of institutional racism within our healthcare system that purports inequitable health outcomes for our Pasifika communities. This could be through things like legislative, strategic and policy frameworks void of cultural imperatives of our Pacific nations, funding arrangements that may disadvantage Pasifika and a lack of Pasifika representation in influential decision-making positions.

Institutional racism is a topic I am passionate about addressing. Through talanoa and the sharing of my lived experiences that highlight examples of institutional racism, the aim is to reach the hearts and minds of health practitioners that will foster the critical thinking to fracture dominant western discourse and advance transformational systems change.

Another form of racism I believe this is just as important to discuss, particularly amongst our own Māori and Pasifika workforce and communities is what I call internalised racism – when we as Pasifika people accept negative racial stereotypes to be true. When we as students or workers are up against negative/racist narratives and/or racial microaggressions constantly, it’s very important to reflect on whether these occurrences are internalised and how this impacts on our wellbeing and/or career progression. We must be aware of this, and recognise that we possess not only the technical skillset, but also the cultural intelligence that raises the cultural capability of any team we participate in through the diversity of our worldviews and thinking.

PAHANZ aims to unleash the leader in us all to bravely wave the Pasifika health gains flag, to empower us all to take our whole-Pacific-selves into our workspaces and courageously insert Pasifika perspectives into the dominant western discourse that largely underpins our health system. Come along to the PAHANZ symposium to connect and talanoa.