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Issue 413 | 31 October 2016 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

The recent announcement by Waikato University of a proposed  third medical programme met with a strong negative reaction from both Otago and Auckland Universities, and our response has been labelled by some (perhaps understandably) as turf-protection.  

Firstly, it is important to defend the two outstanding medical programmes in this country because a major theme of the Waikato proposal is that both Auckland and Otago are failing to produce the right type of medical graduates and sufficient Maori doctors.

This is not true, but our swift negative reaction was mainly in response to two key issues:

  • The introduction of an additional 240 medical students into a national training system that is only just coping with a  50 percent expansion in medical graduates.

  • The lack of any national consultation and consideration for the government’s strategy of growing doctor numbers.

Training medical students to be skilled, safe and compassionate practitioners requires the coordination of many resources; university facilities and academics, clinicians, nurses and other health professionals in hospitals and general practices across the country as well as controlled and supervised access to patients.  

Introducing 240 additional students into the national training pipeline would have a serious impact.

Moreover the Waikato proposal is written from a regional perspective with a primary goal of boosting rural doctors from and in the Waikato region.

Australia has experienced an unregulated expansion to 19 medical schools over the past 20 years and now risks over-supply.

New Zealand, which has the population of Sydney, has two programmes that continue to be funded on the basis of robust national workforce planning. Any new proposal should be only considered as a consequence of a national plan and strategy.

Best wishes,

John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ
Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland


New Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Image of From left: Professor Peter Shepherd and Professor Lynnette Ferguson
From left: Professor Peter Shepherd and Professor Lynnette Ferguson

Congratulations to two of our Faculty’s leading researchers who were among 10 academics from the University of Auckland, elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand today.

The honours recognise international distinction in research and scholarship.

The new Fellows for our Faculty are:

The Royal Society of New Zealand offers expert advice to government and the public, recognises excellence in research and scholarship in science, technology and humanities, promotes science and technology education, publishes peer-reviewed journals, administers funds for research and fosters international scientific contact and co-operation.



Public invited to expert panel on robotics in healthcare

Image of Dr Catherine Mohr
Dr Catherine Mohr

From bionic hearing to robotic surgery, the use of robotics in healthcare will be discussed at a free public panel discussion in Auckland on Tuesday.

The panel includes Dr Catherine Mohr, a New Zealander now based in the USA who is a leading international expert on ‘intuitive surgery’ in health robotics.

The Medtech Exhibition event also includes three evening talks next week on Robotics in Healthcare, Women’s Wellness and Technology Innovation for Healthcare.

Read more

The SILO 6 Medtech Exhibition is open from Monday, 31 October until November 13 at Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter. The talks will be held at the nearby GRID-AKL venue at 101 Pakenham St and are free entry from Monday afternoon.

For registration and more information on the full programme of these talks see the below links:


Centre for Addiction Research Annual Symposium

Image of Tāmaki Innovation Campus
Tāmaki Innovation Campus

This year marks the second Centre for Addiction Research (CFAR) annual symposium, to be held on Monday, 28 November 2016.

The symposium takes a closer look at ‘Collaborations to inform AOD policy and practice: Current research and future directions’ and will be held at our Tāmaki campus.

CFAR members will present findings of current collaborative research projects, as well as discuss future research initiatives that aim to strengthen the understanding, prevention and treatment of addictive consumptions in New Zealand.

The programme was designed to provide top-level overviews of various alcohol, other drug, tobacco or gambling research projects at the Centre.

These research projects will be of interest to clinicians, policymakers, researchers and others working within this field in New Zealand.   

Find out more



Annual BHSc Careers Night


The School of Population Health hosted an annual Bachelor of Health Sciences(BHSc) Careers Night last week Wednesday 19 October at the Tāmaki Innovation Campus.

Head of School, Professor Ngaire Kerse, Director of Bachelor of Health Sciences Dr Monique Jonas and new Co-Director Dr Laura Wilkinson-Meyers welcomed 22 alumni this year.

The BHSc alumni were represented by Waikato DHB, Auckland DHB, Counties Manukau DHB, Waitemata DHB, Healthy Families, and Synergia among others joined current students for an informal networking dinner and shared their stories of charting a career in the health sector.

As employers of BHSc graduates, Julie Helen of Auckland District Health Board and Jenni Coles of BUPA spoke at the event and acknowledged the many strengths of the BHSc in the workplace, based on their experiences of the BHSc Postgraduate Internship Programme (developed by Professor Peter Adams and Debbie Holmes).

The speakers gave the students clear advice on finding a job that "fits" their personality, as well as the importance of enthusiasm and a "can do" attitude in being successful in their work.

Alumni Turuhira Irwin of ADHB and Siobahn Mills of Orion Health shared their tips for a transition from the BHSc to the workplace.

A BHSc/Commerce conjoint student, Augusta Connor stressed the importance of working and volunteering alongside the degree to get valuable experience before graduation.

Riki Apa from Career Development and Employment Services (CDES) promoted the group's many supports for students and graduates and hosted a CV spot-checking booth on the night.

The Auckland University Population Health Student Association (AUPHSA), members, led by Zizi Jasim and Aarushee Kaur assisted with organising the event and helped host the many guests from the sector. 

Special thanks to Dr Dan Exeter (who was a great Master of Ceremonies), to the event organisers Dr Laura Wilkinson-Meyers, Helen Lee, Sharon Walker and Debbie Holmes and to the photographer Chris Loufte for volunteering his time and talents to document another successful year's event!


Diwali Celebrations


This year our faculty joined with the Liggins Institute to celebrate Diwali, one of the most popular festivals in India.

Celebrations included a delicious vegetarian Indian banquet, with experts demonstrating sari tying and henna application.

Staff enjoined a wonderful bollywood dance performance and were encouraged to join in on the fun.

Staff took the opportunity to dress in traditional Indian clothing, and this added a splendid array of colour to the occasion.

Many thanks to the Equity Committee and all involved for organising this memorable event.