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Papali'i Dr Suitafa Debbie Ryan


Recent Projects

  • Review of the response to the NZ measles outbreak 2019

  • COVID-19 Pacific Response

  • Pacific COVID-19 Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Project: Evaluation of the August 2020 outbreak -  August 2022

  • Ensuring equity for Pacific families: Learning from a pandemic

  • Improving Care for Cook Islands people with Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Enhancing Primary Health Care Services to Improve Health in Aotearoa New Zealand – A Stocktake of Pacific providers

Areas of Expertise/Key Skills

Pacific Health

Policy and Data Analysis

Health System Research

Primary Care

Debbie is the Principal and founder of Pacific Perspectives (2008) Ltd.

She is a primary care physician who has held senior positions in community primary care and public service organisations and she has advocated for equity for Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand through her roles on Boards, Ministerial and Advisory Committees. Her research focus is to provide evidence for decision-makers at different levels, that can support policy change and the delivery of services that are culturally responsive and tailored to local contexts.

Debbie has served as a Ministerial appointment to a range of public sector committees including the Counties Manukau District Health Board, the NZ Lotteries Community Committee, the Education Guardians Group and the Covid-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group. She has also supported the establishment of a Pacific policy function in the Aotearoa New Zealand health reforms as part of the Transition Unit team at DPMC. She is an honorary member of the NZ College of Public Health Medicine and a recipient of the Prime Ministers Award for public management at Victoria University, the Pasifika Medical Association Life Award, and the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and health.

Since 2011, Debbie has partnered with Pacific nursing leaders to design and deliver Pacific nursing workforce and leadership development programmes. The Aniva programme is making a significant contribution to growing the Pacific nursing workforce and to influencing understanding that Pacific indigenous knowledge must be integrated with health services for sustainable success for Pacific peoples. The programme is based on Pacific values and mobilises Pacific networks in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific region, recognising Pacific nurses’ cultural identities and their roles in their families and communities as strengths.

Qualifications and Accreditations



MPM (Dist)




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