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Elana Curtis

2004-05 Harkness Fellow Senior Lecturer Medical Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland

Harkness Project Title: An Analysis of Race/Ethnic Disparities in Breast Cancer Tumor Characteristics and Survival in Elderly Women: SEER-Medicare Data Analysis

Mentors: Andrew Bindman, M.D., and Rebecca Smith-Bindman, M.D.

Placement: University of California, San Francisco

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Elana Taipapaki Curtis, M.B.Ch.B., a 2004-05 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy, is a Mäori (Te Arawa) public health medicine physician from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Prior to accepting the position of Senior Lecturer Medical, she was working at the National Screening Unit, Ministry of Health in Wellington where she has been investigating ethnic disparities in breast cancer epidemiology. She has previously worked with Te Röpü Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pömare - Mäori Health Research Centre at the University of Otago investigating ethnic disparities in access to invasive cardiovascular procedures/caesarean sections and the relationship between disparities and deprivation. She is a member of the Mäori Cardiovascular Advisory Group and has been actively involved in developing Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa - Mäori Medical Practitioners Association (Te ORA). Her research interests include investigating ethnic inequalities in health using a Kaupapa Mäori Research framework in order to eliminate existing disparities.

Project: Elana Taipapaki Curtis investigated the effect of mammography screening on racial and ethnic differences in cancer tumor characteristics at time of diagnosis, and the effect of screening, treatment, demographics, and other factors on disparities in breast cancer survival.  She used data from the SEER database, which contains data on tumor characteristics at time of diagnosis, treatment, patient demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and mortality.


Career Activity Since Fellowship

  • LIMELITE Award for Innovation in Student Recruitment, Support, and Graduation (Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education – LIME Network), 2009
  • Senior Lecturer Medical, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, 2005


Current Position: 

  • Senior Lecturer Medical, Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, University of Auckland
  • Director of Vision 20:20, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland

E-Mail: [email protected]

Selected Publications

Curtis E. Deserving of more: framing of Maori inequities in cardiovascular care remains a challenge. N Z Med J 2013 Aug 2;126(1379):9-11.

Curtis E, Reid P. Indigenous Health Workforce Development: challenges and successes of the Vision 20:20 programme. ANZ J Surg 2013 Jan;83(1-2):49-54.

Jones P, Harper A, Wells S, Curtis E, Carswell P, Reid P, Ameratunga S. Selection and validation of quality indicators for the Shorter Stays in Emergency Departments National Research Project. Emerg Med Australas 2012 Jun;24(3):303-12.

Curtis E, Wikaire E, Stokes K, Reid P. Addressing indigenous health workforce  inequities: a literature review exploring 'best' practice for recruitment into tertiary health programmes. Int J Equity Health 2012 Mar 15;11:13. =

Jones P, Chalmers L, Wells S, Ameratunga S, Carswell P, Ashton T, Curtis E, Reid P, Stewart J, Harper A, Tenbensel T. Implementing performance improvement in New Zealand emergency departments: the six hour time target policy national research project protocol. BMC Health Serv Res 2012 Feb 21;12:45.

Imlach Gunasekara F, Butler S, Cech T, Curtis E, Douglas M, Emmerson L, Greenwood R, Huse S, Jonggowisastro J, Lees C, Li Y, McConnell D, Mogos A, Azmy NI, Newman S, O'Donnell K. How do intoxicated patients impact staff in the emergency department? An exploratory study. N Z Med J 2011 Jun 10;124(1336):14-23.

Curtis E, Harwood M, Riddell T, Robson B, Harris R, Mills C, Reid P. Access and society as determinants of ischaemic heart disease in indigenous populations. Heart Lung Circ 2010 May-Jun;19(5-6):316-24.

Loring BJ, Curtis ET. Routine vaccination coverage of 11 year olds, by ethnicity, through school-based vaccination in South Auckland. N Z Med J 2009 Mar 13;122(1291):14-21.


Curtis E, Ouale C, Haggstrom D, Smith-Bindman R. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Breast Cancer Survival: How Much is Explained by Screening, Tumor Severity, Biology, Treatment, Comorbidities, and Demographics?" Cancer 2008; 112(1): 171–80.