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mediNEWSotago March 2019

Message from the Dean


Kia ora katoa

It was uplifting to see the 300 bright enthusiastic faces of the new 2nd year medical class starting at the beginning of this semester. It was followed a week later by the 4th year classes starting in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington campuses. For the first time the Dunedin group were welcomed at the local Marae for their first day. The Christchurch introductory week, including two days at a local Marae, was also particularly successful. Thank you to all who made these events happen.

On 15 March we all were shocked and upset about the massacre at the mosques in Christchurch. The counterpoint is us as a country, university and medical school determining that “this is not us”. The events also put into perspective our challenges while implementing our new support structures and further increased our need to be mindful of the need to support each other and treat all with respect and empathy. I would like to thank all staff and students who have been so caring of affected students and staff.

The Deans of the Medical School had a facilitated planning meeting in February that was very useful in identifying the key issues that need defining and solutions as the Otago Medical School evolves into the next five years. The process for identifying the next OMS dean has started and I will continue in an acting role till that person arrives. That job combined with my role as Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine has been made possible by the institutional knowledge and support of the OMS team led by Bruce Smith. Thank you.

I look forward to meeting many of you over the next year.

Barry Taylor
Dean, Dunedin School of Medicine and acting Dean, Otago Medical School

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OMS news

Ongoing support for students and staff

Employee Assistance Programme available for all students and staff

No matter where they are in New Zealand our EAP counselling is available 24/7 for all staff and students Ph 0800787286.

Prayer room in Christchurch

From Wednesday 27 March a Prayer Room is opening on the Christchurch campus to be available on an ongoing basis.

Safety Patrol in Dunedin

In Dunedin, Campus Watch is operating its safety patrol 24/7. Students in North Dunedin who feel unsettled can call Campus Watch if they would like to be accompanied home. The safety patrol can be reached on 08004795000.

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HODS meeting 10-11 April – Dunedin

The combined HODs meeting will be held in Dunedin this year – for further details contact:

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MB ChB updates

New Medical School Oath

The graduating class of 2018 were the first to recite the new medical school oath which now includes an undertaking they will attend to their own health as well as that of their patients.
Otago graduates recite the University’s own oath, which draws on several sources, including the Hippocratic Oath, at a ceremony on the morning of graduation. This self-protective provision was adopted into the Declaration of Geneva—the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath— by the World Medical Association last year.

MBChB Grad Glass 2018 otago702464

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Mirror on Society update

The Division of Health Sciences is committed to developing a health professional workforce which reflects national demographics. OMS is delighted to report that the 2018 MB ChB graduating class included new Māori and Pacific doctors at numbers equivalent to the general population, as does the 2019 intake. This reflects the Mirror on Society Selection Policy (MoS), designed to ensure the Division promotes and facilitates academic equity for students from Māori and other under-represented MoS category groups. These students must have the potential to succeed academically and apply via the approved process, which from 2020 will include two new sub-categories for all HS Professional Programmes: Socioeconomic and Refugee.

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2019 BMedSc(Hons) Award ceremony

The recipients of this year’s BMedSc(Hons) awards were presented with their award certificates at a morning tea held in mid-March. For a full list of the 2019 BMedSc(Hons) class and their projects, see the programme (PDF).


Front row: Hannah Wright, Kara Hamilton, Mark Holdaway; middle: Kushan Ghandi; Alexander Woolrych, Helen Cao, Anthony Yee-Goh, Jeffrey Huang; back row: Nicholas Hall, Matt Woodall, Brooke Marsters and Emily Wood.

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MB ChB Curriculum Map - update

The Otago MB ChB Curriculum Map indicates to students and staff the key elements of learning within the MB ChB, demonstrating how they are organised, structured and related/linked to each other. Progress continues to be made on developoing the map. MCC has recently endorsed learning outcomes (element/topic or subject plus level of learning) that will remain current until the end of 2019. Core elements (currently being reviewed) and domain learning outcomes can be arranged by name (alphabetically) and by level of learning. Significant changes in the Core Condition List expected this year will be notified as confirmed. There are two new Core Professional Activities: Clinical Pharmacology and Professional Conduct.

This year's other two priorities, to be notified when completed, are linking domain learning outcomes to modules, and linking domain outcomes to core elements. For now these aspects of the map should be considered incomplete and unreliable. Identifying and linking key resources to core elements is also still in progress. We welcome staff and student suggestions of resources to be tagged to core elements. Students in particular are reminded that important course information is provided directly by convenors and administrators responsible for each part of the course.

For more information:

Ultimately the curriculum map’s successful implementation will depend upon the extent to which it is useful and it is felt to belong to all staff and students.

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MBChB Assessment - APP 2019

The 2019 MB ChB Assessment Policies and Procedures (the APP) document has been approved and uploaded for staff and student reference. The document cover includes a summary of changes made to assessment policies since last year, each hyperlinked to the relevant section in the document, and an executive summary setting out expectations.

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Medical School Outcomes Database (MSOD) – update

The OMS recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health on the MSOD project, which monitors students' and graduated doctors' career preferences to see how the student background, curriculum and PG experiences might affect career directions. This longitudinal collection of data from both Otago and Auckland medical schools since 2007 is building a substantial dataset for research. The information is used by the Ministry of health workforce planning, and by the contributing medical schools to guide curriculum planning.

More details or contact the MSOD Project at

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Inter-Campus Collaborative Meetings

Funding is available to assist with the development and/or introduction of collaborative teaching and learning for the MB ChB among or within departments in the Otago Medical School, i.e. School of Biomedical Sciences, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago Wellington and University of Otago Christchurch.

Applications may be for A) Meetings, B) Developing a resource or C) Delivering a resource.
Other initiatives will also be considered.

Information and previous reports can be viewed on the OMS Staff Resources page, including an application form.

Curriculum development processes and resources

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Other news

Medical Education Research

The OMS encourages and supports staff to engage in research into medical education. Staff interested in such research are encouraged to contact the Medical Education Research Academic Lead, Dr Kelby Smith-Han.

Medical Education Research Fund

OMS is pleased to announce the recipients of the first round of funding for 2019:

Associate Professor Lynley Anderson, Bioethics Centre
Project - The CAPLE (Creating a Positive Learning Environment) project: Experiences and effects of bullying intervention/policy

Mr Vivek Perumal, Department of Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences
Project - Gamification: A novel approach to promote student learning of an integrated medical curriculum

For more information on the fund and the second round.

Medical Education Research Fund


As committed members of the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) network, Otago is delighted to be hosting this year’s LIME conference in Christchurch in November. The LIME Connection Scientific Committee is calling for abstracts that address the theme: Pouhine Poutama: Embedding Indigenous Health Education.

OMS reminds staff attending international conferences that we have institutional memberships that may entitle you to a registration discount for some organisations. Please contact Erin Flannery at OMS( to check before registering for AMEE or ANZAHPE.

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Shared Services at OMS

The Support Services Review has affected some parts of OMS more than others. While the central office is currently largely unchanged, support for ELM has been centralised in the Hunter Centre, and administrators now work across the modules. If you have queries about an administrative aspect of the ELM, contact

There have also been changes across academic departments, and a reasonably high level of staff movement. The first point of contact for any department remains the departmental administrator.

Declan_Mehigan_2019Rebecca_Sewell_2019The Centre for Early Learning in Medicine welcomes two newly appointed Client Service Administrators: Rebecca Sewell, who is a recent Otago science graduate and Declan Mehigan, who has recently emigrated from the UK having previously worked in healthcare administration and IT support roles.

The ELM programme recently farewelled Amara Boyd at a lunch held to thank her for her role as the main administrator for the Early Professional Experience programme module. Amara joined the OMS in 2009 and has provided much of the support for the community-based learning such as organising student placements in rest homes and arranging visits by the volunteers and Friends of the Medical School. The OMS wishes Amara all the best in her new job with the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit.


The foundation Early Professional Experience (EPE) team: lead tutor Stuart Chambers,
Amara Boyd, and Programme Module Convener Associate Professor Hamish Wilson

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Otago 15oth - a special visitor

Attending the Pacific weekend for the University's 150th celebrations, Papali'i Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton visited the medical school to see what's changed since she graduated in 1964, Otago's first Pacific woman medical graduate. Dr Annandale-Atherton came from Samoa to high school in the 1950s ahead of medical school, post-graduate training in Scotland and her return to a long and respected career in Samoa, where in retirement she remains an activist with a strong interest in women's issues and public health.

Faumuina Tai Sopoaga, Barry Taylor, Dr Viopapa Annandale March 2019

Faumuina Dr Tai Sopoaga, Professor Barry Taylor, Papali'i Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton.

Dr Annandale-Atherton was interviewed for the Otago Bulletin during her visit to Dunedin:

Other news:

PULSE - Health Sciences News

Pulse includes news from the Division’s departments, schools, and faculties. Within this you will find information about recent successes, new initiatives, upcoming events, and highlights from across the Division. The list is populated dynamically from Human Resources but it may not include staff embedded in the Division from other areas.

January / February 2019 edition of Pulse

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