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Samoan Master's student highlights impact of cardiovascular disease on Pacific families through research
Updates / News, 17 Jun 24
Fetuoleaniva (Aniva) Hunkin, is on a heartfelt mission to improve Pacific health outcomes. As a recipient of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Knowledge Hub Masters Scholarship, Aniva shares with us the motivations that drive her to pursue a Master of Science, majoring in Psychology.

“I would say that the village that is my 'aiga is the greatest driving force behind my desire to further my studies. As Pacific peoples, I think we often look to our families as we navigate our own individual lives and decision-making.”  

Family experiences ignited Aniva’s determination to investigate the relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and psychological wellbeing in Pacific communities, especially among Pacific men who are disproportionately affected by CVD.  

“In 2022, illness struck one of my family members which inspired me to utilise the opportunities afforded to me by the University of Auckland and PMA scholarship, in order to carry out meaningful research that will benefit our Pacific peoples. 

“In many Pacific cultures, men or fathers are the head of the family and thus, it is my intention to understand how our Pacific families fare when a health complication such as CVD affects the heads of their family; the source of strength, the leader, decision-maker.”     

Aniva is excited for the journey that lies ahead and the opportunity to connect with people in the community.  

“I look forward to hearing real-life stories from our participants, as the holistic nature of our Pacific knowledge systems, cultural practices, and ways of being pertaining to health and wellbeing can benefit Western health practices.”  

The PMA Knowledge Hub, a collaborative initiative between PMA and the University of Auckland, was established with a shared vision: to support Pacific students in conducting research that enhances Pacific health and wellbeing outcomes. This partnership aims to cultivate new, innovative leaders in the health sector, all united in the pursuit of Pacific prosperity.