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Northernmost medical school meets southernmost medical school

Tuesday 1 November 2016 4:03pm

Dr May-Lill Johansen, GP PhD is spending five months of her sabbatical with the Department of General Practice and Rural Health.

May-Lill joins us in the deep south from the northernmost medical school in the world, the Arctic University of Norway in Tromso, where she is a Senior Lecturer in General Practice, Department of Community Medicine.

May-Lill leads the Teaching Unit for General Practice and is responsible for medical students’ eight-week placement in primary care. Her research interests include medical and interprofessional education, the doctor-patient relationship, and palliative care. May-Lill is also general practitioner one day a week.

While at Otago, May-Lill is learning about how we teach medical students about general practice and rural medicine. She is also interested in our post-graduate programmes and has already taken part in the GENA 822 Advanced Nature of General Practice residential.

May-Lill is looking for collaborations in the fields of palliative care in rural areas, medically unexplained symptoms, interprofessional education and realist reviews. May-Lill can be reached at

In searching for places to spend her sabbatical, she came across Dr Hamish Wilson and Dr Wayne Cunningham’s book on the doctor-patient relationship and thought “these are people I would like to meet”. May-Lill visited us in 2014 and gave a presentation on a pilot project in interprofessional education in Northern Norway. She has spent the last two months at Queensland University with the Discipline of General Practice.

Associate Professor Chrystal Jaye visited the Arctic University of Norway on her sabbatical earlier in 2016. May-Lill sees this as the beginning of a closer relationship between the two Departments and hopes that more people from the Department of General Practice and Rural Health will visit.

In her spare time, you can find May-Lill hiking and enjoying literature, music, movies and, of course, good food and wine.

Below is Dr Jim Ross (GPRH), Daniel Coppersmith (visiting Fulbright student with Preventive Social Medicine), Dr May-Lill Johansen and Jessica Young (GPRH) at Pulpit Rock in the Silverpeaks.

May-Lill at pulpit rock