Dr Heena Akbar awarded Diabetes Australia 2022 Research Grant for Pasifika Women’s Diabetes Wellness Program

Congratulations to Dr Heena Akbar, who has been awarded a research grant at the Diabetes Australia 2022 Research Grant Awards for her work on the Pasifika Women’s Diabetes Wellness Program.

Dr Akbar is one of five of Queensland’s leading diabetes researchers to be awarded a grant under this year’s Diabetes Australia Research Program, who will share over $350,000 in funding from Diabetes Australia.

The Diabetes Australia Research Program supports and rewards outstanding diabetes research in Australia with grants funded through a merit based, competitive, peer review process.

Type 2 Diabetes is a significant health problem for Maori and Pasifika communities in Queensland, who also experience a higher rate of morbidity and mortality from the disease. Despite the higher morbidity rates, there is an insufficient amount of culturally considered initiatives that aim to improve diabetes prevention and management within these communities.

Dr Akbar’s research looks at the co-creation and implementation of a culturally tailored initiative to improve prevention and management of type 2 diabetes in Māori and Pasifika women. – The Pasifika Women’s Diabetes Wellness Program. The program was co-designed and developed – with, by and for Pasifika women & their families.

A partnership between Māori and Pasifika Communities, Pasifika Women’s Alliance Inc (PWA), Community Organisations and Queensland University of Technology, it will see the implementation of a culturally safe and respectful Pasifika program to support  Māori and Pasifika women and their families to better self-manage and prevent complications from type 2 diabetes.

In particular, the program will focus on family culture and spirituality to support Māori and Pasifika women manage their diagnosis, lead a healthier lifestyle and improve diabetes-related outcomes.

The pilot of the Pasifika Diabetes Wellness program will be led and delivered by our Pasifika communities, Pasifika health professionals and Pasifika community researchers through Pasifika knowledges and Pacific health frameworks.

Source: Akbar, Heena & Nuimata, Winnie & Te Kani, Ms. (2019). Development of a Pasifika Women’s Diabetes Wellness Program: from an Australian Pacific Islander Cultural Perspective.

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