• AMRF

Cultivating better mental wellbeing for refugees

The AMRF is pleased to have awarded Dr Arezoo Malihi a 2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship award to support her research and career. Here, Dr Malihi describes her important health research.

My fellowship addresses a national priority for New Zealand but also a significant gap that has been identified by advocates and stakeholders who work directly with refugee communities. I aim to provide strong evidence-based foundations to improve the quality of the mental health services available to refugees in NZ.

Dr Arezoo Malihi
Dr Arezoo Malihi

I will be using administrative data to develop a proxy measure of well-being across a range of health, education, employment and social factors such as neighborhood deprivation index. The findings of this research will provide, for the first time, critical insights at a population level into the mental well-being and service access rate of refugees.

"Receiving an AMRF postdoctoral fellowship means opening an ideal opportunity to grow as an emerging scholar and contribute to the diverse fabric of New Zealand society."

My work will help to better plan service reach in the NZ health system with culturally appropriate services to ensure an equitable service provision for this diverse group.


In addition, the proposed measure that incorporates societal, community and individual factors could be potentially used for other important population groups, including Māori and Pacifica people provided that a subjective component of wellbeing is considered alongside the knowledge learnt from this administrative dataset analysis.


My research will inform further data analyses for other health and non-health related outcomes for vulnerable groups which in turn informs policies that can improve their wellbeing. Collaboratively, my work will help the health system to plan strategies to improve mental wellbeing of all New Zealanders.


Read more about all the health and medical research we fund in the Awarded Grants section of our website.

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