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Christchurch campus hosts indigenous health leaders

Wednesday 9 May 2018 4:47pm

Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) network members at a recent meeting hosted by the University's Christchurch campus.

Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama.

Improving health statistics for indigenous populations and more culturally-relevant medical curriculums were topics for discussion at a recent meeting of Australian and New Zealand medical schools at the University of Otago’s Christchurch campus.

The representatives from all 23 medical schools in New Zealand and Australia were part of the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) network. This collaboration of medical schools is dedicated to ensuring the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning of indigenous health in medical education. It also focuses on best practise in the recruitment and retention of indigenous medical students and trainees. The network encourages and supports collaboration with medical institutions and builds connections with indigenous communities and other health science sectors.

Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama is the director of the Christchurch campus’ Māori/Indigenous Health Institute and a recipient of New Zealand’s highest teaching honour, the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. The award, bestowed in 2015, recognised Associate Professor Pitama’s focus on education that works towards improving health in Māori communities with a commitment to redressing the inequity between Māori and non-Māori on issues relating to illness.

Associate Professor Pitama says the LIME networks is crucial in addressing inequalities because it focuses on improving the education of the next generation of doctors.

"The LIME network supports many projects that are aimed at increasing the indigenous medical education workforce and a responsive health workforce to indigenous health.

“A workshop held during the recent Christchurch meeting will result in a new project team working on the design and development of indigenous health medical education courses for Australasian medical school faculties."