The Otago Medical School supports learning in Pacific health to develop a medical workforce that meets the particular health needs of this key group of the New Zealand population. Its importance in the curriculum is recognised by its development as one of the domains used to organise the medical degree. The Pacific health curriculum within the MB ChB is coordinated by the Centre for Pacific Health, within the Division of Health Sciences, and the Pacific community is actively involved in curriculum development and delivery.
The Pacific curriculum in Otago's health professional programmes is devised to build foundational knowledge about Pacific communities and applied skills that will help students better serve Pacific patients, their families and the wider community. Pacific teaching is taught in-context, and the methods for teaching includes community immersion experiences ensuring the authentic voice of the Pacific community is incorporated in the teaching.
The medical programme's Pacific content aligns with the Divison's Pacific curriculum learning outcomes.
Curriculum and educational innovation
The Pacific Immersion component of the medical programme involves students learning from Pacific communities within their own cultural context and environment, about their worldview and the important things that influence their health and wellbeing.
Pacific students are encouraged to connect with the Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit (PIRSSU) to access targeted programmes for their specific cultural or other learning needs.
OMS uses research as an important tool in creating change to support health systems to better meet the needs of Pacific communities by placing Pacific voices and perspectives at the centre of research and acknowledging the strength and innovation that exist in communities. Research interests also include healthcare education research.
Pacific medical students have opportunities to apply for Summer Research Scholarships, both through the Schools and the Health Research Council Pacific Health Research scholarships.
Pacific developments in the Division of Health Sciences are guided by committees including local Pacific community representatives.
Pacific workforce development
The Otago Medical School admissions strategy includes Te Kauae Parāoa, designed to ensure that we promote and facilitate academic equity for students from under-represented groups, who have the potential to succeed academically, and who have applied via the application process. An initial goal of reaching parity between the MB ChB cohort and national demographics is now being achieved with increasing numbers of Pacific doctors graduating each year.