Public Health Association (PHA) president Lee Tuki says Dr Prudence Stone, who has recently been appointed as chief executive, has the passion, energy and mana to raise the profile and prominence of public health issues in New Zealand.
“If we want people in New Zealand to be healthy and well, we need to put public health at the centre of all policy making. Dr Stone has the skills, knowledge and connections to get the public health voice clearly heard,” she says.
“Dr Stone is committed to making Aotearoa a better place to live for current and future generations of New Zealanders. She’s shown throughout her career that she is a great listener, is able to build consensus, and never gives up. She will be a relentless campaigner for public health in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Dr Stone says it is essential that the PHA is an effective watchdog and informant so the right decisions get made.
“A lot of the time public health can be up against huge multinationals working in industries such as tobacco, sugar and alcohol. It’s crucial the PHA works to combat the persuasive influence that big industry can have by ensuring we promote evidence-based policies. We must be constantly vigilant.”
She says one of her first priorities will be to get to know her membership and their priorities.
“While the PHA has a very small national office, we have passionate and active members all over the country who have so much to offer. I will be doing a lot of listening over the next few months in order to gain a really clear picture of where we want to go collectively as an organisation.”
Dr Stone has a master’s and a PhD in sociology and was previously executive director of the Smokefree Coalition. She has been a member of the PHA since 2009, and became co-chair of the Wellington region PHA branch in 2018.