Health Expert Group ensures relevance to Pacific Island needs

Monday 17 June 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Noumea, New Caledonia –

List of experts

Scientific and public health experts will meet at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters in Noumea today and tomorrow (17 and 18 June) as part of the Public Health Division’s new Scientific and Technical Expert Group.

‘We have established a high-level expert group to guide PHD’s future direction and priorities, and contribute to quality assurance for our work, including scientific publications and advice to the Pacific Island countries and territories,’ says Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director of SPC’s Public Health Division (PHD).


The group will also provide overall leadership and guidance to ensure that PHD outputs meet high scientific and ethical standards. ‘This is part of PHD’s ongoing commitment to supporting members and improving population health in the region,’ says Dr Tukuitonga.


The group will contribute to the new strategic plan recently developed by PHD and ensure PHD’s scientific and technical advice reflects PICTs’ needs and the priorities identified in the new PHD strategy. Priorities in the new strategy include prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases, including sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. SPC will continue to provide regional surveillance activities as part of the long-established Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network.


‘With their extensive experience, these experts are well placed to know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s appropriate for our members, and their advice will be invaluable in guiding the work of PHD staff in countries to build national essential public health functions at the local level,’ says Dr Tukuitonga.


‘PHD would like to thank these public health leaders as we together navigate the public health challenges of the future.’


The Public Health Scientific and Technical Expert Group comprises:


Professeur Dominique Baudon – General Manager of Pasteur Institute, New Caledonia.

Professor Robert Beaglehole (Chair) – Professor Emeritus at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Professor Ruth Bonita – Professor Emeritus at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr Greg Dever – Regional Coordinator for Human Resources for Health, Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (PIHOA), Palau.

Dr Jean-Paul Grangeon – Head of Health Programmes, Department of Health and Social Welfare (DASS-NC), New Caledonia.

Dr Stevenson Kuartei – Physician and former Minister of Health, Palau.

Dr Viali Lameko – Director of Clinical Programmes and Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Oceania University of Medicine, Samoa.

Professor Roger Magnusson – Professor of Health Law and Governance, University of Sydney, Australia.

Dr Mohamed Patel – Associate Professor, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Lord (Dr) Viliami Tangi – Chief Surgeon Specialist and former Minister of Health and Deputy Prime Minister, Tonga.

Professor Michael Toole AM – Deputy Director of the Burnet Institute and Professor, School of Public Health, Monash University, Melbourne. Australia.

Dr Maire Tuheiava – Public Health Specialist and Head of Prevention Programmes, Ministry of Health, French Polynesia.


For more information, please contact Jean-Noël Royer, Assistant Communication Officer, SPC at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it