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Professor Sue Pullon, Primary Health Care & General Practice Department

Profile_Sue_PullonProfessor of Primary Health Care, and Director of the Otago Interprofessional Education (IPE) Centre, Division of Health Sciences.

Background and Interests

Sue is Professor of Primary Health Care, and Director of the Otago Interprofessional Education (IPE) Centre, Division of Health Sciences. She was Head of Department 2010-2017, and is also the director of the Tairāwhiti IPE programme (TIPE). Sue has been in the department since 1994. She has been a practising GP for over 30 years, with a special interest in sexual and reproductive health. Sue also has strong interests in health education and promotion, and is the author of the New Zealand Pregnancy Book – a leading book in the health education field, which is now in its third edition and been in print for over twenty years. An e-book version is in production and a fourth edition underway. Sue’s key research areas of interest are currently in interprofessional education, collaborative practice and effective teamwork in primary care settings. Sue has always been passionate about enhancing high quality education for all health professionals and has teaching expertise and research interests in many other aspects of primary health care, general practice, and women’s health. In 2009 Sue received the most prestigious award offered by the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP), that of Distinguished Fellow.

Teaching and Learning 

Interprofessional Education (IPE)

Since 2016, Sue has been the Director of Otago’s IPE Centre (Division of Health Sciences). This inaugural position has involved making the case for, and setting up the Centre, leading a team of IPE leaders based on each campus. The Centre is a virtual, distributed one, with the IPE centre manager and an administrator based in the Divisional office in Dunedin, and campus leaders in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, with some additional administrative support on the northern campuses. The IPE Centre is responsible to the Divisional IPE Governance Group (DIPEGG), and the Divisional Executive. Its main functions are to deliver on the Division’s IPE Strategic Plan, coordinating, fostering and supporting activities and staff, developing resources, guidelines and monitoring processes across the Division.

Undergraduate Medical Education

Sue is the Undergraduate Teaching director for the department. She has had many years’ experience teaching medical students in the 4th, 5th and 6th years of the undergraduate medical programme, and has on-going teaching and assessment commitments in each year of the course; including consultations skills, population-based screening, and sexual health.
As Director of the Tairāwhiti IPE programme, based 500km away from the Wellington campus, the programme continues to provide a clinically based programme in a high needs rural area, with specific hauora Maori, rural health and chronic condition management learning objectives.

Postgraduate Health Professional Education

Sue is a PhD and Masters supervisor, and particularly interested supervising students interested in undertaking PhD’s or research Masters degrees in health professional education, including interprofessional education; collaborative practice or sexual and reproductive health.
From 2000 – 2010, Sue led and consolidated the steady development of the interprofessional For the Postgraduate Diploma and Certificate Primary Health Care qualifications, Sue co-convenes the Sexual and Reproductive Health paper in alternate years and teaches on several other papers for the department’s distance taught postgraduate programme.

Research Activities

Sue’s research activities include a range of topics relevant to primary care, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Principle research themes include interprofessional practice, health professional teaching and learning, interprofessional education, health education, and women’s health.

Current Projects, and Selected Previous Projects:

Current Projects 

• The effect of the built environment (BE) on collaboration in primary care - This new area of work investigates characteristics of the internal built environment in primary care practices, and how they might facilitate or act as a barrier to optimal teamwork and collaborative care.
• Collaboration in aged care settings for patients admitted to die (ATD) – This study builds on previous work investigating the nature of collaborative practice. Aged care facilities have not previously had to actively manage patients specifically admitted-to-die, but this is now becoming more common as hospices reach capacity for care. These patients often need complex team based care, yet there are few precedents for how this care might be effectively managed.
• Sexually transmitted infections – reducing the burden. This project is a series of related studies investigating how best to address New Zealand’s very high rate of Chlamydia and other STIs in primary care settings. This health services research is translational, involving testing a pathway of evidence based care, ascertaining feasibility and acceptability in practice.
• The LIP study – the Longitudinal InterProfessional study – this project involves following 2015 and 2016 cohorts of students to compare outcomes over 4 years (final year of pre-registration study + first 3 years of post registration work experience) to compare student who have participated on the Tairāwhiti interprofessional education (TIPE) programme with their non-participating peers, with respect to subsequent work choice, location and setting, effect on teamwork and collaborative practice. Data collection due to finish in 2019.

Recently Completed

• Youth health services – the nature of intra- and inter-agency collaborative care for high-needs young people
• Collaborative care for patients with complex co-morbidities – patient and health professional perspectives
• National stocktake of general practices and teaching capacity for health professional students and trainees

Previous Work (selected)

• Study of InterProfessional Practice in Primary care (SIPP) – observation of health professionals as they go about their day to day practice in primary care, directly observing and investigating teamwork
• Interprofessional collaborative practice - Health professionals and patient’s perceptions about teamwork; organisational factors affecting collaborative practice
• Competence, respect and trust – interprofessional relationships between nurses and doctors in primary care.
• Training and support for clinical teachers – teach the teachers programme evaluation, use of general practices as clinical placements
• Use of simulated patients in medical education – consultation skills for primary care, use of adolescents as simulated patients
• Midwifery Education for Women who Smoke (MEWS) study - a randomized controlled trial that resulted in health education resources, publications and conference presentations (including 2 papers given at the 26th International Congress of Midwives in Vienna 2002), and requests for workshops.

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Rose, S. B., Garrett, S. M., Kennedy, J., Lund, K., Hutchings, D., Boyle, C., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2018). Partner notification and retesting for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A case-note review in New Zealand primary care. Journal of Primary Health Care. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1071/HC17025

Pullon, S., Ballantyne, A., Macdonald, L., Barthow, C., Wickens, K., & Crane, J. (2018). Daily decision-making about food during pregnancy: A New Zealand study. Health Promotion International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax098

Darlow, B., Brown, M., Gallagher, P., Gray, L., McKinlay, E., Purdie, G., Wilson, C., & Pullon, S. (2018). Longitudinal impact of interprofessional education on attitudes, skills and career trajectories: a protocol for a quasi-experimental study in New Zealand. BMJ Open, 8, e018510. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018510

Wilson, C., Pullon, S., Darlow, B., McHugh, P., & Schwass, R. (2018). The Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Programme: What the inaugural students say after 5 years in the workplace. Proceedings of the All Together Better Health (ATBH) IX Conference. 1252. Retrieved from

Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2018). Learning with, from and about each other: Developing interprofessional education programmes. Journal of Medical Imaging & Radiation Sciences, 49(Suppl. 1), (pp. S12). doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2018.02.035

Authored Book - Research

Pullon, S., & Benn, C. (2008). The New Zealand pregnancy book: A guide to pregnancy, birth and a baby's first three months (3rd ed.). Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books, 432p.

Pullon, S. R. (1999). New Zealand Pregnancy Book (2nd Edition). Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 361p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Pullon, S., Darlow, B., & McKinlay, E. (2016). Building evaluation into the development of interprofessional education initiatives. In D. Forman, J. Thistlethwaite & M. Jones (Eds.), Leading research and evaluation in interprofessional education and collaborative practice. (pp. 145-166). Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-53744-7_8

Pullon, S., McKinlay, E., Gallagher, P., Gray, L., Skinner, M., & McHugh, P. (2015). Case study 14.4: Interprofessional education in a rural setting: A quick-start innovation for final-year health professional students. In K. Bin Abdulrahman, S. Mennin, R. Harden & C. Kennedy (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of medical education. (pp. 197). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. [Case Study].

Pullon, S., & Herrmann, M. (2015). Primärversorgung in Neuseeland: Lehren aus einem kleinen Land. In Jahrbuch für Kritische Medizin und Gesundheitswissenschaften [Yearbook of critical medicine and health sciences]: Primary health care. (pp. 104-121). Hamburg, Germany: Argument.

McLeod, D., Pullon, S. R., & Basire, K. (1998). Factors Affecting Baby Feeding: Reflections and Perceptions of Hutt Valley Mothers. In A. Beasley & A. Trlin (Eds.), Breastfeeding in New Zealand: Practice, Problems and policy. Dunmore.

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Chapter in Book - Other

McKinlay, E., Bycroft, J., Darlow, B., Gray, B., Morris, C., & Pullon, S. (2017). Interdisciplinary collaboration: Working in teams for patient care. In K. A. Morris (Ed.), Cole's medical practice in New Zealand. (13th ed.) (pp. 81-99). Wellington, New Zealand: Medical Council of New Zealand.

McKinlay, E., Gray, B., & Pullon, S. (2013). Interdisciplinary collaboration: Working in teams for patient care. In I. St George (Ed.), Cole's medical practice in New Zealand. (12th ed.) (pp. 143-149). Wellington, New Zealand: Medical Council of New Zealand.

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Journal - Research Article

Rose, S. B., Garrett, S. M., Kennedy, J., Lund, K., Hutchings, D., Boyle, C., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2018). Partner notification and retesting for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A case-note review in New Zealand primary care. Journal of Primary Health Care. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1071/HC17025

Pullon, S., Ballantyne, A., Macdonald, L., Barthow, C., Wickens, K., & Crane, J. (2018). Daily decision-making about food during pregnancy: A New Zealand study. Health Promotion International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax098

Rose, S. B., Garrett, S. M., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2017). Retesting and repeat positivity following diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoea in New Zealand: A retrospective cohort study. BMC Infectious Diseases, 17, 526. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2635-y

Rose, S. B., Garrett, S. M., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2017). Overcoming challenges associated with partner notification following chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosis in primary care: A postal survey of doctors and nurses. Journal of Primary Health Care, 9(2), 136-144. doi: 10.1071/HC17006

Ballantyne, A., Pullon, S., Macdonald, L., Barthow, C., Wickens, K., & Crane, J. (2017). The experiences of pregnant women in an interventional clinical trial: Research in Pregnancy Ethics (RIPE) study. Bioethics, 31(6), 476-483. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12361

McKinlay, E. M., Morgan, S. J., Gray, B. V., Macdonald, L. M., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2017). Exploring interprofessional, interagency multimorbidity care: Case study based observational research. Journal of Comorbidity, 7(1), 64-78. doi: 10.15256/joc.2017.7.103

Morgan, S. J., Pullon, S. R. H., Macdonald, L. M., McKinlay, E. M., & Gray, B. V. (2017). Case study observational research: A framework for conducting case study research where observation data are the focus. Qualitative Health Research, 27(7), 1060-1068. doi: 10.1177/1049732316649160

Murton, S. A., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2017). Assessment of training capacity in New Zealand general practices: A stocktake in the lower North Island and South Island. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1462), 11-26. Retrieved from

Rose, S. B., Garrett, S. M., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2017). Chlamydia testing and diagnosis following initiation of long-acting reversible contraception: A retrospective cohort study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 57(6), 665-675. doi: 10.1111/ajo.12685

Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Gallagher, P., Beckingsale, L., Coleman, K., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2017). Building and expanding interprofessional teaching teams. Journal of Primary Health Care, 9(1), 29-33. doi: 10.1071/HC16053

Pullon, S., Morgan, S., Macdonald, L., McKinlay, E., & Gray, B. (2016). Observation of interprofessional collaboration in primary care practice: A multiple case study. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 30(6), 787-794. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2016.1220929

Kane, P., Jasperse, M., Egan, R., McBain, L., McKinlay, E., Pullon, S., & Herst, P. (2016). Continuity of cancer patient care in New Zealand: The general practitioner perspective. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1440), 55-63. Retrieved from

Crawford, R. M., Gallagher, P., Harding, T., McKinlay, E. M., & Pullon, S. R. (2016). Interprofessional undergraduate students talk about nurses and nursing: A qualitative study. Nurse Education Today, 39, 7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2015.12.021

McKinlay, E., Gallagher, P., Wilson, C., Gray, L., McHugh, P., & Pullon, S. (2016). Social learning, shared accommodation and interprofessional education: I think those conversations that you have at the dinner table …. Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice, 5, 1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.xjep.2016.07.001

Pullon, S., Wilson, C., Gallagher, P., Skinner, M., McKinlay, E., Gray, L., & McHugh, P. (2016). Transition to practice: Can rural interprofessional education make a difference? A cohort study. BMC Medical Education, 16, 154. doi: 10.1186/s12909-016-0674-5

Darlow, B., Donovan, S., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2016). What makes an interprofessional education programme meaningful to students? Findings from focus group interviews with students based in New Zealand. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 30(3), 355-361. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2016.1141189

McBain, L., Pullon, S., Garrett, S., & Hoare, K. (2016). Genital examination training: Assessing the effectiveness of an integrated female and male teaching programme. BMC Medical Education, 16, 299. doi: 10.1186/s12909-016-0822-y

Pelham, K., Skinner, M. A., McHugh, P., & Pullon, S. (2016). Interprofessional education in a rural community: The perspectives of the clinical workplace providers. Journal of Primary Health Care, 8(3), 210-219. doi: 10.1071/HC16010

Pullon, S., McKinlay, B., Yager, J., Duncan, B., McHugh, P., & Dowell, A. (2015). Developing indicators of service integration for child health: Perceptions of service providers and families of young children in a region of high need in New Zealand. Journal of Child Health Care, 19(1), 18-29. doi: 10.1177/1367493513496673

McKinlay, E. M., Gallagher, P. A., Gray, L. A., Wilson, C. L., & Pullon, S. R. H. (2015). Sixteen months “from square one”: The process of forming an interprofessional clinical teaching team. Journal of Research in Interprofessional Practice & Education, 5(2). Retrieved from

Morgan, S., Pullon, S., & McKinlay, E. (2015). Observation of interprofessional collaborative practice in primary care teams: An integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52, 1217-1230. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2015.03.008

Darlow, B., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Donovan, S., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. (2015). The positive impact of interprofessional education: A controlled trial to evaluate a programme for health professional students. BMC Medical Education, 15, 98. doi: 10.1186/s12909-015-0385-3

Zhang, W., Rose, S., Foster, A., Pullon, S., & Lawton, B. (2014). Breast cancer and breast screening: Perceptions of Chinese migrant women living in New Zealand. Journal of Primary Health Care, 6(2), 135-142.

Pullon, S., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Perry, M., Darlow, B., Gray, B., Gallagher, P., Hoare, K., & Morgan, S. (2013). Interprofessional education for physiotherapy, medical and dietetics students: A pilot programme. Journal of Primary Health Care, 5(1), 52-58.

Lim, B. T., Moriarty, H., Huthwaite, M., Gray, L., Pullon, S., & Gallagher, P. (2013). How well do medical students rate and communicate clinical empathy? Medical Teacher, 35(2), e946-e951. doi: 10.3109/0142159x.2012.715783

Lawton, B. A., Rose, S. B., Pullon, S., Stanley, J., Garrett, S., Sykes, P., Cormack, D., Robson, B., Langdana, F., Cooper, A., & Filoche, S. K. (2012). The impact of outpatient booking systems on waiting times for investigation of suspected cancer: The case of post-menopausal bleeding. Clinical Ovarian & Other Gynecologic Cancer, 5(2), 87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cogc.2013.06.001

Pullon, S., McKinlay, E., Stubbe, M., Todd, L., & Badenhorst, C. (2011). Patients' and health professionals' perceptions of teamwork in primary care. Journal of Primary Health Care, 3(2), 128-135.

Handley, J., Pullon, S., & Gifford, H. (2010). Living with type 2 diabetes: 'Putting the person in the pilots' seat'. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 27(3), 12-19.

Pullon, S., McKinlay, E., & Dew, K. (2009). Primary health care in New Zealand: The impact of organisational factors on teamwork. British Journal of General Practice, 59(560), 191-197.

Pullon, S., & Lum, R. (2008). Clinical teaching capacity in New Zealand general practice. New Zealand Medical Journal, 121(1268). Retrieved from

Pullon, S. (2008). Competence, respect and trust: Key features of successful interprofessional nurse-doctor relationships. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 22(2), 133-147. doi: 10.1080/13561820701795069

Pullon, S. (2008). What is the place of general practice within primary health care - in the Aotearoa New Zealand context? New Zealand Family Physician, 35(5), 301-303.

McLeod, D., Cornford, E., Pullon, S., de Silva, K., Simpson, C., & ... (2005). Can quit practice: A comprehensive smoking cessation programme for the general practice team. New Zealand Medical Journal, 118(1213). Retrieved from

McKinlay, E., Plumridge, L., McBain, L., McLeod, D., Pullon, S., & Brown, S. (2005). ″What sort of health promotion are you talking about?″: A discourse analysis of the talk of general practitioners. Social Science & Medicine, 60, 1099-1106.

Pullon, S., Cornford, E., McLeod, D., de Silva, K., & Simpson, C. (2005). Workplace factors: The key to successful and sustained continuation of a general practice-based smoking cessation programme. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 11(1), 55-62.

Pullon, S., & Fry, B. (2005). Interprofessional postgraduate education in primary health care: Is it making a difference? Journal of Interprofessional Care, 19(6), 569-578.

McLeod, D., Pullon, S., Benn, C. A., Cookson, T., Dowell, A., Viccars, A., White, S., Green, R., & Crooke, M. J. (2004). Can support and education for smoking cessation and reduction be provided effectively by midwives within primary maternity care? Midwifery, 20(1), 37-50. doi: 10.1016/S0266-6138(03)00051-2

Pullon, S., Webster, M., McLeod, D., Benn, C., & Morgan, S. (2004). Smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy in current primary maternity care. Australian Family Physician, 33(1/2), 94-96.

McLeod, D., Benn, C. A., Pullon, S. R., Viccars, A., Morgan, S., Cookson, T. J., & Dowell, A. C. (2003). The midwife's role in facilitating smoking behaviour change during pregnancy. Midwifery, 19, 285-297.

Pullon, S. R., McKinlay, E. M., & Wynn-Thomas, S. M. (2003). Teaching complex consultation skills using adolescent and parent simulated patients. Focus on Health Professional Education, 5(2), 48-60.

McLeod, D., Pullon, S., & Cookson, T. (2003). Factors that influence changes in smoking behaviour during pregnancy. New Zealand Medical Journal, 116(1173). Retrieved from

Pullon, S. R. (2003). Using adolescent and parent simulated patients. New Zealand Family Physician, 30(5), 350-352.

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