Social Accomplishment Award 2009

Michael Hills

Michael Hills, ONZM, BA, MA, Ph.D., DipTch, AFNZPsS, MRZNS

Dr Michael Hills is an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Psychology at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.  Born and educated in Wellington, New Zealand, he graduated PhD in 1973 from the Australian National University, Canberra, after a study of intergenerational values disparity in migrant families.  His interest in researching and teaching in the disability field for over the past twenty years originated in his own experience of epilepsy throughout adulthood.  He has been First Vice President of the International Bureau for Epilepsy, a Past President of Epilepsy New Zealand, and on the Council of the New Zealand Neurological Foundation, as well as being a past Executive Committee member of the International League Against Epilepsy, Past President of the New Zealand Psychological Society and Chairperson of the University of Waikato Department of Psychology.  He was appointed Ambassador for Epilepsy in 1999, and ONZM for his work for people with epilepsy and in the community in 2002.  He has over 100 publications and conference papers to his name.  His major achievement as IBE Vice-President was to chair a constitution review committee, and then the election task force. As Secretary-General he saw the Bureau expand to a membership of over 60 countries, as well as contributing to the rapid development of the International League Against Epilepsy and the World Epilepsy Congresses and regional congresses in Asia, South America and Europe. He has been an invited speaker to 20 international conferences on epilepsy and has supervised to completion 50 MSocSci theses and 10 PhDs. Research grants totalling NZ$ 168,794 have funded research on psycho-social aspects of epilepsy His recent research has focused on developing and evaluating systems for the provision of community care for people with epilepsy, especially for minority group members such as indigenes.  To facilitate such provision he has also studied the attitudes of the majority population to epilepsy and those who have it.  The overall goal of his research is to improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families.