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Suzanne_PitamaAssociate Dean Māori, Director of MIHI (Māori/Indigenous Health Institute)

MA(Auck) PhD(Otago) PGDipEdPsych(Massey)


MIHI (Māori/Indigenous Health Institute)
School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
University of Otago, Christchurch.
PO Box 4345,

About Suzanne Pitama

Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu) is the Associate Dean (Māori) and Associate Professor at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Suzanne joined the University of Otago in 2001 from a clinical background in child psychology. She has since developed a keen interest in medical education and completed her PhD (Otago) on examining the place of indigenous health within medical education.

Suzanne is the Hauora Māori Faculty Representative on the University of Otago Faculty of Medicine Curriculum Committee. In this role Suzanne chairs the Hauora Māori sub-committee, whilst also contributing to other areas within the medical education field including the curriculum mapping, the culture, self and diversity working group and has an interest in measuring social accountability.

Suzanne has a passion for teaching, winning a University of Otago teaching award in 2014, a national AKO Aotearoa tertiary teaching in excellence award in 2015 and the 2015 Prime Ministers Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence.

Suzanne is also the Director of the Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI).

Suzanne has been involved in Māori health research for 18 years. Suzanne is currently leading an HRC funded project that is focusing on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in Māori communities and is a co-investigator on an international collaboration project (New Zealand, Australia and Canada) looking at the role of medical education in addressing health disparities (Educating for Equity).

Suzanne is also involved in a number of other research projects based within the University of Otago, Christchurch focussed on indigenous experiences in the health system and patients living with chronic illnesses. She is a keen advocate for Kaupapa Māori based methodologies and has interests in child mental health, medical curriculum development and Māori health community based projects.

Suzanne is a member of the New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC) and Chairs the HRC Māori Health Committee.

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Undergraduate Medical Curriculum UOC (Years 4-6)

Contributes to:

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Research interests

  • Hauora Māori – Māori Health
  • Effects of Adoption Practices on Mental Health
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Severe Behaviour in childhood and adolescence
  • MoDCONZ - Modelling disease and cancer outcomes in New Zealand

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Professional activities

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Suzanne Pitama is the Haura Māori representative on the Faculty of Medicine Curriculum Committee