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“Decolonization of s/pacific bodies”

Pacific Islander Diasporas and Health

April 9

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

You will be able to access all or any one of the April Pacific Islands Studies Symposium panels by registering.

What does it mean to teach Pacific Studies in the current moment? What are the pedagogies, both old and new, that Pacific Islander scholars, activists, teachers, and performers are drawing on to educate and foster knowledge relevant to Pacific Islander people? Deepen our conversations about Pacific Islander diasporas and pedagogies in relation to health.

This event is part of the Pacific Islands Studies Symposium.

The symposium is intended to support efforts to expand the course offerings associated with the newly launched undergraduate Certificate in Pacific Islands Studies and to contribute to the field of Pacific Studies by converting the panels into an iBook for the Teaching Oceania Series. The symposium is supported by grants from the Mellon Foundation and the University of Utah’s Global Learning Across the Disciplines.


Juliann Anesi

Juliann Anesi
University of California, Los Angeles

Juliann Anesi is an assistant professor of Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include disability and indigeneity, educational policies,  and decolonial feminisms. As a community educator and activist, she has also worked with non-profit organizations and schools in American Sāmoa, California, Hawai´i, New York and Sāmoa. Juliann is currently at work on a book manuscript, Tautua: Women’s Activism and Disability Advocacy in Sāmoa.

Josie Howard

Josie Howard
We Are Oceania

Josie graduated from Xavier High School in Micronesia and attended the Community College of Micronesia. She later transferred to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo studying Biology, Anthropology, and Pacific Island Studies in 1989 making her one of the first Micronesians migrating under the Compact of Free Association Treaty. At the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Josie Howard’s roles included student peer counselor, president of the International Students Association, student researcher at the Minority Biomedical Research Program, resident assistant at the student housing, president of the Chuukese Students Association, as well as chairperson for the Campus Ministry. Josie has over 10 years of servicing the community, with 8 years in the Department of Health Waiver program, 5 years in the Department of Education, and 5 years in program development, implementation, and piloting a one stop center model. Josie’s community involvement includes being the founder of the Young Voyagers, a youth club in Media with ‘Ōlelo, and co-founder of the Micronesian Health Advisory Council, and Micronesian Cultural Awareness Project. Recently Josie earned her Master in Social Work and is now working as a Coordinator/Facilitator at EPIC ‘Ohana Inc. and as a Social Worker at the St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church. Josie is most recognized for her contribution to the “Micronesian Voices in Hawaii Conference” where she participated as one of six steering committee members who worked with Micronesian Government leaders, community leaders, as well as Conference sponsors. She is also known for her work at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Inc.’s “Imi Loa Program” where she worked with families and their adult children providing direct services as well as managing the programmatic and fiscal operation. She successfully managed and grew the program from a one hundred eighty thousand dollars grant to a one million dollar grant after four years in operation. Mrs. Howard is a native of Onoun Island in Micronesia and she speaks Chuukese, Onounese, and English fluently.

Vili Nosa

Vili Nosa
University of Auckland

Associate Professor Vili Hapaki Nosa is currently the Head of the Pacific Health Section, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. University of Auckland. Associate Professor Nosa has a Bachelor of Arts in Education & Sociology, Master of Arts (Hons) in Sociology.  Associate Professor Vili Nosa dissertation examined “The Flight from the Homeland Niue: An Evaluation of the consequences for the Niuean Political Economy”. Associate Professor Nosa holds a doctorate in Philosophy in Behavioural Science at the University of Auckland. His PhD thesis entitled: The Perceptions and use of Alcohol among Niuean Men Living in Auckland. Associate Professor Nosa’s PhD was funded by a New Zealand Health Research Council Pacific Postgraduate Scholarship. Associate Professor Nosa is of Niue descent. He was born in Niue and immigrated to New Zealand as a pre-schooler. He was brought up and educated in Grey Lynn, Central Auckland and Mangere East, South Auckland.  He was the first person from the Island of Niue to have graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy.

After completing his PhD he was employed as a research fellow in 2005. In 2006 he became a Lecturer in the Section of Pacific Health, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences, University of Auckland. In 2010 he was promoted as a Senior lecturer. In 2016 he was appointed to Head the Pacific Health Section and in 2017 he was promoted to an Associate Professor in Pacific Health. In 2018 he received the Faculty of Medical Health Sciences Butland Award for Excellence in Research Supervision as he has supervised well over 100 students in summer students, Bachelor in Health Sciences (hons) Masters in Medical Sciences, Masters in Health Leadership, Masters in Public Health, Masters in Health Sciences, Doctoral of Philosophy and Post Doctoral students. In 2019 he was awarded the Pasifika Medical Association Group, Service Award 2019 for Outstanding Service to the Pacific Health Sector and Community. In 2020 he was awarded an Honorary Burnet Institute Senior Research Principal Research Fellow, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia. In 2020 he won a prestigious Health Research Council of New Zealand Pacific project grant of $1.2 million to investigate Pacific peoples infant care practices in NZ, Niue and the Cook Islands. He is a Principal investigator and co-investigator for a number of Pacific health related research topics.          

He is renowned for the number of Pacific students that have graduated under his supervision. His teaching background includes being the course co-ordinator for the Postgraduate programme of Pacific health. He also teaches on the certificate in health science, undergraduate medical programme, undergraduate and post graduate courses.

His scholarly interests are in Pacific health issues in New Zealand and the Pacific region. His specialists areas of research is in addiction research such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs and substance abuse.  Internationally he has presented and worked in, Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, and Brisbane Australia; Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Niue; and Hawai’i where he has been a key note speaker on these issues. Associate Professor Nosa has published widely in both national and international journals. Associate Professor Nosa sits on a number of boards and advisory committees in New Zealand and Internationally. He is married to Daniella Latoalevi-Nosa and they have 3 children Maya, Graison and Brennah.


Jacob Fitisemanu

Jacob Fitisemanu
University of Utah

Jacob Fitisemanu, Jr. was born in Wellington, New Zealand to Karen Dang (Kaimukī, O’ahu, Hawai’i) and Jacob Fitisemanu Sr. (Falefā, ‘Upolu, Samoa). Jake was raised in Honolulu, HI and Taylorsville, UT with a love of his vibrant Samoan, Chinese and Korean heritage. He graduated with honors in Social Science from Westminster College, where he also obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Jake co-founded the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition and has chaired the annual statewide Pacific Islander Health Week since 2012. He was appointed to the US Census National Advisory Council in 2014 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and the Mana Academy Charter School. Earlier this year, Jake was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Jake is the Outreach Coordinator for the Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities and lives in West Valley City with his wife Lucia and their two daughters, Moana and Lanuola.

Organizer: Pacific Islands Studies Initiative