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Contact Details

03 364 0522
Professor, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago, Christchurch
Dean's Department (Christchurch)
BA MA (Hons) PG DipEdPsych (Massey) PhD (Otago)
Research summary
Maori health


Suzanne Pitama (Ngati Kahungunu) is a Professor and the Dean and Head of Campus, 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 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 was previously the Director of Māori / Indigenous Health Innovation.

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.


Pickering, J. W., Devlin, G., Body, R., Aldous, S., Jaffe, A. S., Apple, F. S., … Troughton, R. W., … Joyce, L., Frampton, C., Lacey, C. J., Richards, A. M., Pitama, S., & Than, M. (2024). Protocol for Improving Care by FAster risk-STratification through use of high sensitivity point-of-care troponin in patients presenting with possible acute coronary syndrome in the EmeRgency department (ICare-FASTER): A stepped-wedge cluster randomised quality improvement initiative. BMJ Open, 14, e083752. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-083752 Journal - Research Other

Manuel, J., Crengle, S., Crowe, M., Lacey, C., Cunningham, R., Clark, M., Petrović-van der Deen, F., Porter, R., & Pitama, S. (2024). Institutional pathways to psychosis for Indigenous Māori: A qualitative exploration of experiences. SSM Qualitative Research in Health, 5, 100435. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2024.100435 Journal - Research Article

Haitana, T., Clark, M. T. R., Crowe, M., Cunningham, R., Porter, R., Pitama, S., Mulder, R., & Lacey, C. (2024). The right to equal health: Best practice priorities for Māori with bipolar disorder from staff focus groups. Healthcare, 12, 793. doi: 10.3390/healthcare12070793 Journal - Research Article

Pitama, S., Haitana, T., Patu, M., Robson, B., Harris, R., McKerchar, C., Clark, T., & Crengle, S. (2024). Toitū Te Tiriti. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 137(1589), 7-11. Retrieved from Journal - Research Other

Landers, A., Pitama, S. G., Green, S. C., & Beckert, L. (2023). ‘People that suffer or have been through it know the answers’: Stakeholders’ perspectives on improving healthcare systems for end-of-life care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMC Health Services Research, 23, 1443. doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-10431-9 Journal - Research Article

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