Tukuitonga honored for outstanding contribution to Pacific health


Pasifika Medical Association honored Pacific Community director general Dr. Colin Tukuitonga with a Life Award at the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) conference in Auckland, New Zealand last Aug. 25. (Contributed Photo)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Pacific Community director general Dr. Colin Tukuitonga has been honored with a Life Award from the Pasifika Medical Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution and active commitment towards improving Pacific health services and training.

Tukuitonga is one of four recipients to receive the prestigious Life Award last Aug. 25 at the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

“I am deeply humbled by this acknowledgement from my peers. It has been my life-long ambition to make a valuable contribution towards improving health services in the Pacific and I am privileged to continue this work with the Pacific Community,” Tukuitonga said.

Service Awards were also given to PMA members who have shown exceptional commitment to a health service organization or community.

In an official announcement released by the association, PMA Patron Dr. Joe Williams noted that “these are individuals who have shown passion and commitment to Pacific health service in New Zealand and the Pacific region. They have contributed excellent services at community level, and offer outstanding support and dedication within the health sector.”

Tukuitonga, who is from Niue, served as the Pacific Community’s Public Health Division director before his appointment as the international organization’s director general in January 2014.

Prior to joining SPC, Tukuitonga served as chief executive officer of the New Zealand government’s Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs; Associate Professor of Public Health and Head of Pacific and International Health at the University of Auckland; Director of Public Health with New Zealand’s Ministry of Health; and Head of Surveillance and Prevention of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organization in Switzerland.

Additionally, he was a commissioner for the World Health Organization global Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity from 2014 until its conclusion in early 2016.

The PMA is a network of Pacific health professionals, working collaboratively to strengthen Pacific health workforce capacity and capability and meet the health needs of Pacific people in the region.

The association is hosting its 20th Anniversary conference which concluded last Aug. 26. (PR)

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