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Leading Pacific health expert joins Heart Foundation

Pacific health leader Dr Collin Tukuitonga is joining the Heart Foundation as its Chief Advisor Pacific.

Dr Tukuitonga, who is Niuean, is the Associate Dean Pacific at the University of Auckland's Health and Medical Sciences faculty. He is also a new government appointee to the Health Quality & Safety Commission board.

Dr Tukuitonga has previously led the Ministry of Pacific Affairs and worked with the World Health Organisation. From 2012 to 2019 he was the Director-General of the Pacific Community, SPC, based in New Caledonia.

Heart Foundation Chief Executive Clive Nelson says, "I'm delighted to welcome Collin to the Heart Foundation team. Collin's leadership, expertise and dedication will be invaluable for our organisation as we continue to grow our commitment to health equity for Pacific and all people".

Dr Tukuitonga has a strong affinity for the work of the Heart Foundation and was one of the original designers of the organisation’s successful Pacific Heartbeat programme which reduces the burden of heart disease in New Zealand’s Pacific communities.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability among Pacific people in New Zealand and I'm delighted to continue working with the Heart Foundation to progress their work to reduce the impact of heart disease in our communities," said Dr Tukuitonga.

He sees strong parallels between the work of the Heart Foundation and his ongoing role at the University of Auckland.

Dr Tukuitonga takes up his appointment with the Heart Foundation in June.