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Danielle Prapavessis

Doctor of Philosophy, (Public Health)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Health


Thesis Title
Synergising youth empowerment and co-design to transform Pasifika youth into agents of social change: a novel approach to advance healthy lifestyles in Pasifika communities

Current health statistics in New Zealand demonstrate a clear need for innovative health interventions for Pasifika peoples beyond a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Ms Prapavessis studied the potential for youth to be catalysts of healthy lifestyles in their communities through youth empowerment and co-design, partnering with two Pasifika health organisations to refine and deliver a youth-based health promotion program. She evaluated transformation through a framework of social change and found that youth in the programme deepened their knowledge and capacities of health, leadership, and community engagement, and that the programme provided an outlet for youth to design and implement healthy lifestyle action plans. This research also determined programme uptake criteria and recommended ways to conduct community-based research in a Pasifika setting, exemplifying a culturally relevant, strengths-based intervention for Pasifika that has applications to other cultural groups and Indigenous peoples.

Dr Riz Firestone
Professor Barry Borman