The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) is a network of Pacific health professionals, working collaboratively to strengthen Pacific health workforce capacity and capability to meet the health needs of Pacific people in New Zealand. Improving the health outcomes of Pacific people is at the heart of all they do.

In early 2021 the Pasifika Medical Association partnered with PREKURE to deliver tailored Health Coach + Mental Health Training.

Their need: An educational partner to deliver more robust and rigorous training and bring an innovative, agile and responsive approach to meet the needs of Pacific health professionals and their community.

The results: A newly trained health and mental health workforce including 29 Health Coach Graduates and 14 Certificate in Mental Health graduates.

The search for an innovative educational partner

Pasifika Medical Association had found that with the tools available to them their people weren’t adequately equipped with the skills required to make the meaningful difference to which they aspired.

Knowing they needed a new approach to deliver more robust and rigorous training for their people, they sought out a partner who could bring an innovative, agile and responsive approach to meet their needs.


Paving a new way to surf the waves of mental health

Mainstream mental health services do not meet the needs of Pacific people today. A core objective of Pasikia Medical Association is to provide better accessibility to mental health services to help those in need. With mental health funding in New Zealand for psychiatrists and psychologists only available to treat the top 3% experiencing severe mental health distress, Dr Francis Agnew, PMA co-founder and board member, talks to the concept of flipping the pyramid, intervening at the top in communities to prevent mental ill health from worsening.

A true partnership, embedding cultural context alongside technical skills

Engaging with PREKURE, a true partnership was formed to deliver high quality, evidence based, engaging and innovative Health Coach and Mental Wellbeing training.

An innovative programme of training was co-designed with the Pasifika Medical Association to ensure Pacific ways of knowing, doing and being were embedded alongside PREKURE’s high quality, evidence based nutrition, lifestyle medicine and coaching skills.

The training was rigorous and challenging but ultimately achievable by all, combining Talenoa with the latest evidence and best practice, to improve and strengthen the positive impact for Pacific family wellbeing and prosperity.


Tailored learning delivering confident, capable graduates

The initial engagement delivered 29 Health Coach Graduates from four different PMA partner organisations; The fono, Etu Pasifika, Fonua Ola, Oceania Career Academy, along with 14 Certificate in Mental Health graduates.

Of the learners, 85% rated their educational experience as very good or excellent:

“Food, Sleep and Exercise are medicines to lower, prevent or cure some of the chronic
diseases our Pacific people are suffering from. I’m excited to see how I can phrase a conversation (cultural way) to educate our aiga on glucose (suka), fats (ga’o) exercise (kolegi) sleep (moe)” 

“Huge THANK YOU to …PREKURE team for an amazing coaching session that has impacted
me and my family on a whole new level. Thank you for your effective tools and holding me
accountable each day as I train to become not just a Health Coach but one that navigates
from the heart.”

Improving health outcomes for Pacific people

Together, through a true partnership model, the development of a new health and mental health workforce has begun. A workforce that is skilled in health coaching and an integrated model of care for Pacific families. This model meets Pacific families where they are at, to walk alongside them to realise and achieve their goals.

Specifically, the results of this training for the newly trained health and mental health
workforce include:

  • Being armed with practical tools to help support people and family who are struggling with mild-to-moderate mental health issues,
  • Families becoming active, eating healthy, and engaging and enrolling in primary health care,
  • Health and wellbeing improvements in the learners themselves and their families,
  • Health literacy and educational improvements in lifestyle medicine.

“It is a privilege to be part of efforts to navigate and improve health outcomes for Pacific peoples. Expanding care by making every Pacific health worker a mental health worker. This means training and upskilling the Pacific health workforce in the essentials of brain health, coaching and lifestyle medicine.


We are proud to be part of this journey with Pasifika Medical Association, the foresight and vision, the work, and the achievements of the Pasifika workforce and Pasifika Medical Association to-date in helping achieve ola manuia mentally, spiritually, culturally and socially. We are humbled by the determination and hope of these new graduates. The seeds we plant today will be the fruits we eat tomorrow.”- Louise Schofield, PREKURE CEO and co-founder

“Culturally Aware & Technically Able”

Our inaugural PMA graduation in 2022 was attended by Pasifika Futures (PFL) partners including PFL Chair Dr Francis Agnew, an international leader in the mental health sector who was in awe of the graduate’s success and potential.

For Dr Agnew, our graduates represented a vision that is coming to fruition. A vision of a Pacific mental health workforce who are culturally aware and technically able, who will serve the Pacific community with integrity and excellence. [1]