Faculty of Medicine NewsletterUniversity of OtagoFaculty of Medicine Newsletter

mediNEWSotago, October 2010

Dean’s Welcome

Don Roberton

Welcome to this edition of mediNEWSotago.

This edition contains news of the appointment of the next PVC and Dean of Faculty, Professor Peter Crampton. Peter will commence in February of 2011, following my retirement. Congratulations on behalf of all in the Faculty to Peter on his appointment.

A number of new Heads of Department have been appointed within the Faculty. Welcome to them, and thank you to the Heads who have completed their roles and who worked so hard towards the success of their Departments, their Schools, the Faculty and the University.

Congratulations to Professor David Fergusson, who has been awarded the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal. This is the University’s highest honour for research.

The recent earthquake in Canterbury had major effects on our staff and students there. The University building withstood the earthquake well. Our thanks go to all staff and students for all the support that they provided during the aftermath of the earthquake. Particular thanks are due to Murray Clarke, the building manager for the University of Otago Christchurch, who did a superb job in getting our facilities up and running again so rapidly.

New laboratories and facilities have been built and commissioned in the Hercus building on the Dunedin campus, and new laboratories are very near completion in the Scott building.

This edition of mediNEWSotago also contains information on the progress of our Early Learning in Medicine programme, and activities in the Advanced Learning in Medicine pogramme.

Appointment of the next Pro Vice Chancellor, Division of Health Sciences, and Dean, Faculty of Medicine:

The Vice Chancellor recently announced the appointment of Professor Peter Crampton to the position of Pro Vice Chancellor for the Division of Health Sciences, and also as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Warmest congratulations to Peter, who has had a long association with the Faculty of Medicine, and who is currently Dean of the University of Otago Wellington campus. Peter will commence in the position on 1 February 2011. The link to the University press release announcing the appointment is: http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago014153.html

News of other appointments in the Faculty of Medicine

Associate Professor Rhonda Rosengren has been appointed as Head of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Otago School of Medical Sciences, from 1st August 2010.

Dr Sue Pullon has commenced as Head of the Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago Wellington, from 18 October, following her return from Research and Study Leave.

Associate Professor Lutz Beckert has commenced as Head of the Department of Medicine, University of Otago Christchurch, from 4 October 2010 until October 2012.

Award of the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal:

Professor David Fergusson, of the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago Christchurch, has been awarded the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal for 2010. David has been Director for many years of the Christchurch Health and Development Study, and he and his team have an international reputation for their contributions to the health and wellbeing of children, young people, and their families.

Our congratulations to David, and to all who work with him, on this award and for the further recognition that it brings to their research.

Further information is available at:


A  public lecture will be announced for early next year in association with this award.

Medical Book Award

Congratulations to Professor Robin Gauld from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine who was recently announced as the winner of the health and social care category in the BMA medical books awards with his book entitled “The New Health Policy”. There were 784 entries. The book highlights the way Britain, New Zealand and The US have approached matters including patient safety, funding, public health and the changing involvement of the public in healthcare planning. (reported ODT 21 Sept)

Film nominated for Documentary awards

“Donated to Science” – which was produced and directed by Paul Trotman and Helen Nicholson and screened on national television this year, was nominated as one of three finalists in the best popular documentary category of the Qantas Film and Television Awards. Congratulations to the team behind this outstanding documentary.

Earthquake in Canterbury

It is just over one month since the earthquake in Canterbury. The University of Otago Christchurch main buildings withstood the earthquake with only very minor damage. The teaching programmes had to be suspended for one week, but rapidly returned to normal. The building that the Department of Public Health and General Practice, and the Maori Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI), were housed in (St Elmos) has not been able to be reopened, and alternative accommodation is being arranged for these staff and students.

The latest news is that unfortunately the St Elmos building has had to be condemned. For further information see the article in the ODT 2nd November. (photo coutesy of the ODT)

Laboratories Refurbished – Dunedin.

The Otago School of Medical Sciences has had some laboratories extensively upgraded during 2010. The Department of Pathology in the Dunedin School of Medicine also has new laboratories. The next edition of mediNEWSotago will feature photos of the new laboratory opening ceremonies and views of the changes to the teaching and lab spaces in the Hercus and Scott Buildings.

ELM Early Learning in Medicine

ELM Review Day

The 2010 ELM review day takes place on November 23. The review this year will focus on a range of issues including evaluation, assessment, innovations that have been introduced in 2010 and will highlight some of the changes that have taken place since the introduction of the new curriculum in 2008. Further details will be circulated to ELM staff and student representatives soon. For more information contact Jude Hodge via email: jude.hodge@otago.ac.nz

End of year function held for Integrated Cases Programme

A function was held at the conclusion of teaching for ELM tutors in the Integrated Cases Programme Module on Friday 15 October, to thank the tutors for their contribution to teaching this year. The lunch also served as an opportunity to thank Gayle Roberton who will be stepping down as the Convenor of the programme in January 2011. Since 2007 Gayle has led the Cases programme and has been responsible for developing all 27 cases in consultation with the various academic representatives from the block and vertical modules. In addition Gayle has been heavily involved in assessment and timetable issues relating to ELM and the overall success of the programme. Our best wishes and thanks to Gayle.

Welcome to new Hauora Maori Staff member – ELM

On Monday the 11th October the Faculty of Medicine held a mihiwhakatau for a new staff member, Ms Francis Kewene and her whanau whanui (Michael Masina, Masin and Ionatana Kewene-Masina). Fran comes to the university after working in Public Health for over 10 years. Fran has held a number of positions within this field first as a Maori Health Promoter and then retraining as a Health Protection Officer. She then took on the role as Maori Health Advisor to Dunedin’s Public Health unit in 2008. Fran has a varied back ground first beginning her professional life in the arts and graduating from Te Kura Toi Whakari – The New Zealand Drama School in 1991. She then went on to gain her first degree from Victoria University in Criminology and Maori followed by a Bachelor of Health Science in Environmental Health from Massey University. Fran’s new position with the Faculty will be as Lecturer in Hauora Maori for 2nd and 3rd year medical students. This position takes over from Dr Jo Baxter who will now be able to commit more time to the other roles she holds within the Faculty, School of Medicine and the Division. We would like to welcome Fran to the Faculty and to the wider medical academic community. Fran is based in the Centre of Hauora Maori in the Adams Building.
Nau mai haere mai a Fran.

ALM – Advanced learning in Medicine

Did you Know Flyers (DYK series)

Recent changes to the ELM curriculum have been summarised for Faculty and teaching staff associated with the University by way of flyers which have been distributed to the three campuses and are also available via the MEG website. These provide a brief overview of aspects of the ELM course that potentially affect the approach and skills of ALM students from 2010. The DYK No.5 focuses on the relevance of biomedical science to clinical practice and will be published soon. Copies of the flyers can be downloaded from the MEG website.

Teaching Awards

A range of teaching awards have been presented to our staff from OUSA and also OUMSA. Congratulations to those who received recognition from our students for their outstanding efforts this year. Tony Zaharic (Biochemistry) has now won this award three years in the last four and Associate Professor Peter Dearden (Biochemistry) received one of this year’s inaugural awards for best use of humour.  David Schmierer (Pharmacy) was one of the eleven finalists. For more information on the OUSA awards (see Pulse). The ELM Year 2/3 awards for teaching were presented to staff recently and a full list of recipients will be published in the last edition of ELM NEWS for 2010.

DSM Annual Teaching Awards 2010

Congratulations to the staff whose contribution to teaching in the medical programme was recognised at the awards ceremony. Dr Wendy Busby received the major award of the Senior Staff Award for Quality in Teaching, and Dr Michael Furlong and Professor John Campbell received commendations for Quality in Teaching.

  • Dean’s Commendation to Invercargill Teaching Staff – Dr Norman MacLean
  • Award to Registrar who has shown commitment and Quality in Teaching – Dr Yih Harng Chong
  • Award to House Surgeon who has shown commitment and Quality in Teaching – Dr Simon Richards
  • Award for the Trainee Intern who has shown commitment and aptitude for teaching – Mr Shuichi Suetani and Miss Anna Choi
  • Certificate to the Nursing Team who has provided the Best learning environment for medical students – Ward 1A  and Ward 6B

Interlinked Plenary Sessions (IPS)

Planning is now underway for 2011, with 8 sessions to be delivered to the year 4/5 classes. 2010 has seen the successful delivery of 8 video linked sessions with a wide range of topics and involving experts from each campus and also from associated health providers such as local DHBs. The technology has been tested in a variety of ways including real time voting during the sessions via cell phones. The sessions are now being streamed live to students and staff, so that our rural students are able to view the sessions live and respond with questions via their cell phones.

Other news:

Module Convenors Meeting – 9 December 2010

The meeting will provide an opportunity for module convenors from all four schools to meet and discuss issues relevant to the curriculum. Further details will be available soon.

IT projects

IT Resource Web site

The Faculty IT staff now have an on-line resource for staff, go to:  http://facmed.otago.ac.nz/it
The site contains information and updates on current projects and also facilities and resources available to staff. Although not replacing the central ITS resource pages, it provides our staff with a wide range of Faculty specific information.

Faculty Records Electronic Delivery  (FRED) – database update

The new on-line database for student progress reports (SPD), which forms the first phase of the electronic record for all medical students from Year 2-6, is to be rolled out to all 3 schools and ELM for 2011, starting with the TI year who commence in November 2010. UOW admin staff  have been trialing the system this year and also entering some data this year for 4/5/6 year students. For the latest on FRED and other Faculty IT projects, help and support, go to: http://facmed.otago.ac.nz/it

Medical Schools Outcomes Database (MSOD)

The 2010 ELM Year 2 students have now completed the 2010 Medical Schools Outcomes Database commencing survey. The data will become part of the larger project, which will begin to provide a basis for research into the career aspirations and development of graduates from Australian and New Zealand medical schools. The first cohort to be surveyed at Otago will graduate in 2011 and will be surveyed on exit from their undergraduate training and then again after PGY1 and 2. The latest MSOD newsletter can be donloaded here:  MSOD Sept 2010 Newsletter.

The Laurenson Awards

The Foundation invites applications for grants to support medical research carried out in the Otago area or projects based in Otago.  These are to be financed by income from bequests to the Foundation by the late Alexia and James Laurenson, known as The Laurenson Awards.

In accordance with the wishes of the Laurensons, applications are invited for research in areas relating to the investigation and dissemination of knowledge concerning the effects of proper diet and/or drugs on human health.

Awards will be for a sum of between $10,000 – $35,000 for one year.  Applications for an extension of a current Laurenson Award may be considered.

This year the total amount available is $100,000.

The closing date for applications in 2010 is 2.00 p.m. on Friday, 12 November. Please note that the University of Otago’s Research and Enterprise Office will require applications that are from University staff by Friday, 5 November 2010.

Applications, or enquiries of a scientific nature, should be directed to the current Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, Associate Professor Patricia A. Cragg (Department of Physiology, University of Otago).

The format to be adopted is described in the Information for Applicants which is available on the Otago Medical Research Foundation website: http://omrf.otago.ac.nz/

Best wishes

Don Roberton

If there is any information that you would like to be disseminated to the Faculty in mediNEWSotago, please contact Jacqui Bradshaw, Administrator & PA to the Faculty Manager, Faculty of Medicine at jacqui.bradshaw@otago.ac.nz