Faumuina Associate Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga is the Associate Dean (Pacific) in the Division of Health Sciences.
The Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific) provides oversight for all Pacific activities in the Division of Health Sciences. As the Director of the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU), her role is to recruit, retain, and ensure a high completion rate for Pacific students in the Division. The support services provided for Pacific students is guided through evidence from the close monitoring and evaluation of all support services. She is responsible for monitoring the Divisional response to the Pacific Strategic Framework goals, provides guidance for engagement with Pacific communities and led developments which resulted in the establishment of the Otago Pacific Academic Caucus.
Faumuina is the high chief title from Fagaloa, Samoa. She trained as a medical doctor with expertise in public health and general practice. She is leading development in the Pacific Health curriculum in Health Sciences, through the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, and has wide connections and networks with the Pacific community in New Zealand and the Pacific region. Her research interests are in health workforce capacity building, transitioning students to higher education and Pacific health curriculum. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies on The health and wellbeing of Pacific students in Higher Education.
Fran commenced in her role in January 2017. Her role is to support the Associate Dean (Pacific) in the provision of operational oversight of the business management of the Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific) and the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU).
Prior to her current position, Fran was the Department Manager in the Department of Women's & Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, where she worked for 15 years.
Albany joined the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit in February 2015. She coordinates the academic programmes and monitors the achievement of Pacific students within the Division of Health Sciences. She also coordinates the mentoring programmes for students in health professional programmes and School of Biomedial Sciences students.
Albany completed a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Otago. She has been teaching bioethics to students from medicine, physiotherapy, and oral health for four years.
As a Programme Coordinator, Talai looks after the POPO Foundation Scholarship Programme (PFP) which runs within the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year. The Programme began in 2012. As well as providing financial support, this programme provides PFP students with academic and mentoring support during their Foundation Year, which Talai co-ordinates. As a result of this role, she also provides some support for other Pacific students studying different Foundation Year courses, including organising and running the POPO Mentoring Programme for Pacific students in Health Sciences First Year.
Talai completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Education in 2007 then went on to complete the Master of Indigenous Studies in 2010 at the University of Otago.
Talai joined the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit in February 2016.
Barbara has been in her role as PIRSSU administrator/PA to the Associate Dean since April 2013. She provides administrative and financial support to Tai and the rest of the team at PIRSSU.
Prior to her current position, Barbara was an administrator at Education Support Services at the College of Education for 12 years before becoming a campus temp where she enjoyed several temporary administrative roles around the University.