WellSouth introduces new Pasifika and Māori scholarship for medical students



Wednesday 22 November 2023

This year, WellSouth, the primary health organisation for Southland and Otago, has launched its annual WellSouth Primary Care General Practice Award 2023, in partnership with the University of Otago, honouring the top-achieving Pasifika and Māori final year medical students. 

 

These scholarships, worth $2,000 each, were awarded to Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) Māori and Pasifika trainee interns who are based in Dunedin and graduating this year. They were awarded last week during the graduating doctors’ prize-giving dinner at the Scenic Circle Southern Cross.

 

WellSouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs congratulated the two recipients, Chekodi Fearnley-Fitzgerald – the top Māori trainee intern in General Practice and Eugene Kado – top Pacific final year medical students.

 

Pictured at the awards ceremony from left to right are Associate Dean Pacific, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dr Letava Tafuna'i, Chekodi Fearnley-Fitzgerald – top Māori final year medical student, Eugene Kado - top Pacific final year medical student, Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine, Professor Jo Baxter and Wellsouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs.

 “Congratulations to Chekodi and Eugene. We will watch your career path with interest, and hope it remains here in our Southern community.

 

“We are proud to support and encourage a growing workforce that is representative of our many diverse communities and who will bring their cultural perspective and experience to the primary health care sector.”

 

He thanked Dr Jim Ross of the Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Associate Dean Pacific, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dr Letava Tafuna'i and Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine, Professor Jo Baxter for their support in selecting the awardees.

 

Mr Swanson-Dobbs says supporting more people who can apply and share a Māori and Pasifika lens on healthcare will help break down barriers and reduce inequities within the health system.

 

“We are dedicated to building the Māori and Pasifika primary health workforce, and a scholarship like this is one of the ways we can collectively encourage more Māori and Pacific people into general practice medicine as a career path.”

Wellsouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs (centre) presents the award with MC Professor Robert Walker on his right and on his left Associate Dean Pacific, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dr Letava Tafuna'i and Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine, Professor Jo Baxter looking on.

 

Image credit: Va’a o Tautai, Centre for Pacific Health

 

 

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