Dr Joanna Hikaka is a clinical pharmacist and health researcher focusing on equitable access to health services for Māori and developing anti-racist health services. She is passionate about applying her research in the real world to help people and communities.
In 2021, Joanna finished her PhD, which looks at how to apply the principles of Tiriti o Waitangi to create equitable health services. To help with her research, she gained knowledge from kaumātua, healthcare stakeholders, literature and te Tiriti o Waitangi. The conclusions of her paper outline a step-by-step approach to pro-equity health intervention development.
Joanna also received the Fulbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award in 2021, a prestigious award valued at up to US$40,000. This award supported her to study at Brown University, where she researched the development of pro-equity healthcare interventions for older adults. During this trip, she shared Aotearoa research and brought back ideas on wellness interventions to support Indigenous older adults.
In 2023, she received a University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence award. In 2021, she also received the University of Auckland Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis and the Contribution to Māori Health and Best Emerging Researcher awards at the Waitematā DHB Health Excellence Award and in 2019, the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand Clinical Pharmacist of the Year award.
Joanna currently works as a Senior Research Fellow in Te Kupenga Hauora Māori at Waipapa Taumata Rau| the University of Auckland. She has previously worked as a researcher at Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puna Rongoā o Aotearoa - the Māori Pharmacists’ Association.