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Vice Chancellor recognised by N.Z. Government

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Alec Ekeroma, has been recognised by the New Zealand government in its 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The academic was among a list of Kiwis who were recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours which was released June 1, and made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services  to health and the Pacific Community. 

According to the citation, which was published together with the announcement of the recipients on the New Zealand Prime Minister’s website, Professor Ekeroma has been a leader in Pacific people’s health for more than 20 years and has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women.

“Professor Ekeroma played a leading role in initiating the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2001, of which he is the current CEO. It is now the foremost organisation for the professional development of doctors, nurses and midwives in the Pacific region. He has produced 51 academic publications, primarily focusing on the health of Pacific women and health capacity building in the Pacific region,” the citation states.

“He founded the Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health in 2015 and is Chief Editor. He was on the Board of Well Pacific Mother and Infant Services from 2010 to 2012, Ta Pacifica Primary Health Organisation from 2006 to 2012, and Southseas Healthcare Trust from 2004 to 2008. 

“He has been a member of the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology since 2002, including as the Chairman of the New Zealand branch from 2006 to 2007. He served on the National Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee from 2010 to 2014. Professor Ekeroma has supported hundreds of medical students and trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology since 1998.”

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, released a statement Monday saying recipients with Pacific background are some of the examples of their leadership capability.

“The work and the individuals we acknowledge this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership that we need to help lead our COVID-19 responses, recovery and the rebuilding of our Pacific economy,” he said. 

“The Pacific recipients have all demonstrated excellence in areas which have made an impact in Pacific communities, including the arts, youth, education, the volunteer sector and most importantly in health.

“Throughout COVID-19, key health messages were translated in 9 Pacific languages with the help of community leaders and Pacific clinicians, and it’s fitting we have four recipients receiving honours for their efforts in the health sector supporting Pacific communities.”

On Professor Ekeroma, Aupito said: “Professor Alec Ekeroma has been appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to health and the Pacific community, which spans for more than 20 years where he has been active in the development of medical services in primary health care for Pacific women and clinical education in New Zealand and the Pacific region.”

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