ProCare Health has recruited Māori health advocate Lance Norman as their new Head of Equity and Māori Health Outcomes.

It’s a new role that will see Mr Norman lead the organisation’s response to addressing inequities and advancing Māori health outcomes. ProCare CEO, Steve Boomert, says Mr Norman is the right man for the job.

“He brings relationships; his skills with data, I think, are exceptional. There’s a real focus for us now around our population health strategy; we’ve identified five key segments where there are huge inequities for Māori and Pacific.” Said Mr Boomert.

“We have nearly 100,000 Māori enrolled with us and over 100,000 Pacific, and I think he’s just got a unique set of skills that are really going to take us forward and plug in that gap.”

With around 30,000 Māori not enrolled in primary care in Auckland alone, a priority for Mr Norman is to educate Māori families around health systems.

“We need to have a conversation about how we get all our people into healthcare; and the ones that are getting into healthcare that might need other social services - how do we refer them to social services providers, like Whānau o Waipareira, like Ngāti Whātua, like Te Puna, like Tainui?”

Mr Norman is no stranger to the health and social services sector having worked as CEO for the likes of Hāpai te Hauora and the National Urban Māori Authority.

He says most of the issues that whānau struggle with aren’t just health related, but for some, they could range from a number of factors including housing, unemployment, or family violence. He hopes to use his extensive networks within the sector to connect people to services that they need.

“It’s just not a ‘one-stop-shop will fix us’, so I intend to [get] as many of our people into healthcare to help them out positively, but also, where need be, refer them to social services providers who are really good at what they do, but just connecting those two sort of areas for us.”