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Ko wai mātou – Who we are

As part of the University of Otago Medical School, established in 1875, we enjoy the proud legacy of New Zealand's first medical school. We work closely with the School of Biomedical Sciences; University of Otago, Christchurch; and University of Otago, Wellington.

We have over 500 staff and are organised into eight academic departments covering:

  • Bioethics
  • General Practice and Rural Health
  • Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Preventive and Social Medicine
  • Psychological Medicine
  • Surgical Sciences
  • Women's and Children's Health

We teach into all levels of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) medical degree – from Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) through to sixth-year medicine (trainee intern year). Our staff also contribute into the other health professional programmes taught at Otago. We teach an undergraduate qualification in Medical Laboratory Science, as well as a wide range of postgraduate qualifications across our departmental specialties.

We have areas of research excellent across the disciplines of bio-clinical, clinical, public and international health, and are active contributors to regional, national, and international clinical, public health, and research networks.

We work in partnership with the major healthcare providers who deliver health services to a population dispersed across a large geographic region.

Whāinga matua – Our purpose

“Making a difference”

We enhance health and wellbeing locally, nationally, and internationally through our vigorous pursuit of excellence in research, teaching, and service.

KaupapaOur vision

“Tomorrow's School of Medicine”

To be recognised internationally as a cutting-edge science and community-focused school providing leadership, innovation, and knowledge for a fast-changing world.

Uara – Our values

  • Innovation in our approach to research, teaching and how we are organised,
  • Transparency in decision-making,
  • Collaboration and partnership as essential to the way we work,
  • The privilege of freedom for intellectual pursuit, and
  • Equity

Kahanga – Our strengths

Our location in a world-class university

We are situated within the University of Otago, New Zealand's oldest University, ranked in the top 1% of universities globally.

Our staff are highly placed internationally, providing leadership in research, clinical practice, and education.

Our students, welcomed across the world, are able to leverage the University's world-class reputation with ease of access to world-class researchers, teachers and clinicians.

Our interdisciplinary and collaborative environment

Our size and location creates an environment in which collaboration locally, nationally, and globally is a daily reality for our staff.

The ability to easily access the basic sciences, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy, as well as the humanities, commerce, and the applied sciences, facilitates unlimited networking and collaboration. This generates the potential for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and practice.

Our supportive research culture

We have a research environment that is recognised for supporting new researchers to become established as contributors in collaborative research communities.

Our shared facilities and close relationship with Southern District Health Board is conducive to translatable research and teaching, as well as involvement in new ways of planning and delivering health services.

Our place and communities

Located in the Southern region of New Zealand, we are uniquely placed to have a meaningful cornerstone partnerships with one District Health Board (Southern), and one Primary Health Organisation (WellSouth). This facilitates ease of access and highly-productive relationships.

We enjoy ongoing and positive relationships with our many communities, including rūnaka, iwi, and Pacific communities.

The majority of our staff are located in Dunedin – a 'Gigatown' with gigabit-speed internet connectivity.

Whāinga / Rautaki – Our goals and strategies

Excellence in research

In our research we will focus on:

  1. Research which is innovative and collaborative, and which makes a difference.
  2. Building and sustaining our research environment to enable the development of connected and collaborative researchers and research.
  3. Creating and sustaining the required infrastructure and resources to be nimble, responsive, and efficient.
  4. Translating new knowledge into practice.
  5. Promoting the commercialisation of discovery

Excellence in teaching

In our teaching we will focus on:

  1. Broadening the range of learning experiences for students. Taking them and us beyond the current institutions to where services will be delivered.
  2. Harnessing the potential of technology-facilitated learning.
  3. Supporting staff to achieve excellence as facilitators of learning.
  4. Ensuring our curriculum is robust, relevant, innovative, and research-informed.
  5. Embedding the passion and practice of research into all of our teaching and learning.
  6. Refining and strengthening our postgraduate processes.

Strong external engagement

In our external engagement we will focus on:

  1. Partnering with Southern DHB and taking an active role in building and developing the southern system of health care.
  2. Strengthening collaboration with key stakeholders including: DHBs, PHOs, Health Research Council, Ministry of Health, and National Science Challenges (MBIE).
  3. Building collaborative relationships with our geographic communities, especially iwi, Pacific, and other communities of interest.
  4. Realising opportunities to build our reputation through media, community leadership, representation, and advocacy.
  5. Ensuring our teaching, research and service is engaged, and addresses the pressing concerns for regional, national and global communities.

Sustaining capability

In sustaining our capability we will focus on:

  1. Attracting and retaining the best academic and general staff.
  2. Creating pathways for students who aspire to academic/clinical careers.
  3. Creating a pipeline of leadership and succession.
  4. Building leadership and management capability.
  5. Creating new income streams through commercialising intellectual property, and the provision of continuing professional development for the wider health workforce.
  6. Identifying and responding to the education and training needs of emerging professions.

Commitment as a regional, national, global citizen

As a citizen we will focus on:

  1. Framing and engaging with the big health agendas and system changes.
  2. Contributing to Māori advancement and development.
  3. Contributing to Pacific advancement and development.
  4. Contributing to the reduction of health inequalities within populations.
  5. Being an active voice on regional, national, and global issues affecting health and wellbeing.
  6. Ensuring our research has impact including through engagement with policy makers and the community.
  7. Creating service opportunities for our students and staff that impact regionally, nationally, and globally.

Outstanding student experiences

In creating an outstanding student experience we will focus on:

  1. Inspiring and supporting our students to achieve excellence.
  2. Understanding and exceeding student expectations.
  3. Ensuring all students are positively included as members of our School community.
  4. Actively integrating the student voice into our policies and practices.
  5. Recognising excellence in student supervision.
  6. Creating interprofessional education opportunities.

Outstanding campus environment

In creating an outstanding campus environment we will focus on:

  1. Creating a consistently outstanding experience for staff and students across all locations for which we have responsibilities.
  2. Ensuring our facilities meet the needs of staff and students.
  3. Facilitating interconnectedness and collaboration between staff, students and external clinical and nonclinical experts who contribute to our programmes.
  4. Ensuring an environment where all staff are highly engaged and productive.

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