Faculty of Medicine NewsletterUniversity of OtagoFaculty of Medicine Newsletter

mediNEWSotago, September 2009

Associate Professor Oliver Davidson – Vale

Oliver2_LOWOliver Davidson, who was previously Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine in the Dunedin School of Medicine, died of a progressive illness in late July while in the United Kingdom on Research and Study Leave. His health problems began last year, and sadly progressed in spite of treatment.
Many in the Faculty were at the memorial service for Oliver which was held in the Hunter Centre on Saturday 22 August. His energy, enthusiasm, and cheerful support are missed greatly by all of us. He was enthusiastic about teaching development, assisting learning for all students, and caring for those he came in contact with. The sympathies of all in the Faculty and the University are with his family and friends.

Don Roberton
Dean, Faculty of Medicine

Friends of the Medical School Function.

Approximately 200 Volunteers attended a function in the Hunter Centre to thank them for theirIMG_0023 contributions to the new Early Learning in Medicine (ELM) curriculum, Healthcare in the Community Programme Module, and other components of our teaching programmes. The Friends of the Medical School number over 400 local residents who are willing to give up their time, by way of meeting with our ELM students in their own homes or residential care facilities. This has proven a very valuable addition to the early learning of medical students.

The function was organised by the HIC programme staff friends3 and provided an opportunity for the volunteers to view student posters and the teaching facilities in the Hunter Centre as well as meet staff and students associated with the programme. The event was televised on Dunedin’s local TV station, Channel nine. The link to view this item is: http://www.ch9.co.nz/node/12580

Faculty ICT/ eLearning projects

Undergraduate Outcomes DatabaseOdb_header

The Undergraduate Curriculum Outcomes Database is proving to be a popular tool to describe the learning expected of Otago medical students as they progress through the degree. The Faculty Education Unit and Faculty IT developers have created the database.  Each outcome includes cognitive and/or psychomotor (practical) levels of learning for the stages of the course: Health Sciences First Year (HSFY), Early Learning in Medicine (ELM, years 2/3), Advanced Learning in Medicine (ALM years 4/5) and Trainee Intern (ALM year 6). To access the database using your University username and password go to: https://outcomes.facmed.otago.ac.nz/
For further information on accessing the database contact Karin Warnaar, Project Officer, Faculty Education Unit. karin.warnaar@otago.ac.nz

Electronic PASAF.

A Professional Attitudes and Skills Assessment Form (PASAF) has been the basis for providing a record of each individual student’s progress though medical school for many years.  Factors such as attendance, presentation skills, language skills, attitudes and behaviour are noted and reported to both the Progress committees and the students themselves. The PASAF also records any outstanding contributions by students who may then be potential distinction candidates. In 2007 the Faculty of Medicine determined that it should develop an electronic PASAF, which would replace the many individual databases and paper-based records in existence, thus unifying and simplifying the process. Faculty IT developers have undertaken this project and the first phase is nearing completion prior to going live for the start of the TI training in November. This will be followed by ELM 2/3 and ALM 4/5 in February 2010.

ISLP – The next live video link between campuses is scheduled for 17 September.

The University of Otago Wellington will host the session titled: “Management of febrile neutropenia”, to be presented by haematologist, Associate Professor John Carter from the Department of Pathology, University of Otago, Wellington and microbiologist, Dr Michael Humble (Acting Head of Department), Pathology, University of Otago, Wellington. The presentation will be to the UOW 4th year students with ALM 4/5 students at DSM and UOC viewing the presentation remotely. Planning is now underway for 8 sessions in 2010 for both year 4/5 students and will include the Invercargill campus. Investigations are also being made into linking up with our rural RMIP students for these sessions in 2010 and possibly other training centres such as Palmerston North.
Ultimately it will be possible to link remotely to individuals on their own personal computers, which will impact greatly on undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Medical Schools Outcomes Database (MSOD) and Longitudinal Tracking Project.

The 2009 commencing students are about to be surveyed which will be the third cohort from Otago to participate in this longitudinal project on training experiences and career intentions. Further information about the project can be found at: http://www.medicaldeans.org.au/msod.html
The latest newsletter can be downloaded here:  MSOD NEWSLETTER June 2009

BSA – Basic Sciences Alive.

Basic Science Alive (http://bsa.otago.ac.nz) is an online revision tool for 4th and 5th year medical students. The site challenges students to link their Science Knowledge with their Clinical Practice through short scenarios. After sharing a presentation the students receive staff and peer feedback. The site has been developed by the Faculty Education Unit and the Higher Education Development Centre, both in Dunedin.
All staff who would like to become involved in developing a scenario and / or providing feedback to students (less than 10mins work) please contact: Joy Rudland mailto:joy.rudland@otago.ac.nz , Phil Blyth mailto:phil.blyth@otago.ac.nz , or Judith Swan mailto:judith.swan@otago.ac.nz .

Other Staff news

Hank WeissWelcome to Professor Harold (Hank) Weiss, the new Head of IPRU, the University of Otago’s Injury Prevention Research Unit. Dr Hank Weiss comes to Otago from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, where he was Director of the University’s Centre for Injury Research and Control from 2002 to 2008. With more than 26 years of experience in injury prevention, his research has focused on domestic violence, poisonings, farm injuries, elderly falls, transport and recreational injuries – to name a few. He has just been awarded the 2009 Alex Kelter Visionary Award from the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association (STIPDA).

Dr Phil Blyth and eLearning.PhilBlyth

The Faculty welcomes Dr Phil Blyth, who has taken up the new position as Senior Lecturer in e-Learning within the Faculty of Medicine. Phil graduated from Auckland Medical School in 1995. Having worked at both Hawkes Bay and Auckland Hospitals as an orthopaedic registrar, he spent a year as the Trauma Fellow at Auckland Hospital. Following this he began lecturing Anatomy at the University of Auckland, while continuing clinical work in orthopaedics. He has recently completed his PhD, entitled “Virtual Reality Simulation of Orthopaedic Surgery”, during which he created the Bonedoc simulator and proved that advanced trainees are better than ‘playstation junkie’ med students at virtual pinning of hip fractures.  He joins the staff as senior lecturer in “eLearning in Medicine”, and will be further developing the Faculty’s delivery of the curriculum via electronic means. Phil has already made an impact on undergraduate teaching by introducing an eLearning case to the third year curriculum as well as setting up a trial using MOODLE, which is an alternative to Blackboard used internationally for online content delivery. The ELM second year gastrointestinal module content is being delivered using MOODLE in parallel with Blackboard.

Annual Award Ceremony 2009

A highlight of the academic year is always the annual Award Ceremony on the day of graduation, and the guest speaker this year will be Professor John Campbell, Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand, Professor in the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dec 1995 – Jan 2005.

ELM OSCEs 2009. Year 2 October 22/23, and Year 3 October 27/28 and 30th.

At the end of the semester, the second and third year classes will both sit OSCE examinations which will run along similar lines to the 5th Year OSCE. There will be 7 minute stations which will examine different clinical skills which have been learned during the year, and students must pass the examination to progress.
The second year examination will consist of four stations, while the third year examination will have eight stations.

A decision will be made after students have completed four stations about whether further information is needed about their performance. Where it is not clear that students have reached the required standard to pass, those students will be required to sit the additional four stations. Students who are eligible for potential distinctions will be invited to sit an additional four stations. Planning for this exercise is well underway with examiners being invited to assist from all of our campuses.

Announcement: The 2009 Nordmeyer Lecture: Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Hon Tony Ryall, Minister of Health “Facing the Future – Health’s Challenges and Changes”. A live audio and video presentation of this lecture will be able to be viewed at the Barnett Lecture Theatre (Dunedin Hospital, Great King St) 5.30pm
The Lecture is given annually in honour of Sir Arnold Nordmeyer.

Ministerial Reviews of Health and Training

There have been several review reports released recently by the Minister of Health. Included among these are the reports of the Medical Training Board, RMO and SMO Commissions, review of Postgraduate Training and Education, the report of the Committee on Strategic Oversight of Nursing Education, and a Ministerial Review Group.

These report are listed below and can be accessed on the links provided:

  1. Medical Training Board: Foundations of Excellence: Building Infrastructure for Medical Education and Training
  2. Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Commission: Treating People Well: Report of the Director-General of Health’s Commission on the Resident Medical Officer Workforce
  3. Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Commission: Senior Doctors in New Zealand: Securing the future. Report of the Director-General of Health’s Commission on Competitive and Sustainable Terms and Conditions of Employment for Senior Medical and Dental Officers Employed by District Health Boards*
  4. Ministerial Task Group on Postgraduate Training and Education: A review of how the training of the New Zealand health workforce is planned and funded: a proposal for a reconfiguration of the Clinical Training Agency
  5. Committee on Strategic Oversight for Nursing Education: A Nursing Education and Training Board for New Zealand

These five reports are available at:


The report for the Ministerial Review Group (‘Horn Report’) is available on:


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

Professor Don Roberton