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June 2011

Divsion of Health Sciences

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter University of Otago Warm Pacific Greetings Ni sa bula vinaka Malo e lelei Kia Orana Talofa lava Fakalofa lahi atu Kam na mauri Halo olaketa Ia orana Taloha ni Namaste Kaise ‘Alii Wantok Halo Aloha mai e

In this Newsletter: Message from Associate Dean Pacific


Message from PIHPSA 2 President PIRSSU Corner


Division of Health Sciences Networks


Mystery Bus Tour


Friday Mentoring and Networking Lunches


Upcoming Events


Summer Research Opportunities


Health Science Fono


Scholarship Information


PIRSSU Welcome Warm Pacific greetings to you all, Welcome to the first newsletter from the Pacific Unit in the Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago. This is a bi-annual newsletter with events for, and information about Pacific students (Pacific Islands Health Professionals Students Association – PIHPSA), PIHPSA Alumni, staff and developments within the Division of Health Sciences. Pacific students include those studying Medicine, Physiotherapy, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Radiation Therapy, the Medical Sciences and Medical Laboratory Science. The Division of Health Sciences has a Pacific Strategic Group (PSG), chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Crampton. The PSG drives strategic directions and developments for Pacific within the Division. The Associate Dean (Pacific), Dr Sopoaga chairs the Pacific Students’ Support Staff Group (PSSSG). This group coordinates pastoral and academic support for Pacific students within the Division. Members of the PSG and PSSSG are nominated by the Deans in the Division of Health Sciences. The Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit (PIRSSU) assists in the recruitment, retention and support of Pacific students in the Division of Health Sciences. Our Research focuses on how to increase the academic achievement of students, recruitment and assess the effectiveness of current

support programmes. The Unit has a small team which assists also in the coordination of support programmes for students. PIHPSA is an excellent student organisation in the Division. It works collaboratively with PIRSSU in providing support for students. The Division works collaboratively with the Pacific Islands Centre, Students Learning Centre and other internal and external groups to ensure students are able to achieve their goals at University. Dare to be wise…Dare to Dream….Dare to Care!!.

Office Drop-ins and Appointments Students are welcome to drop-by the office without an appointment. If you wish to see the Associate Dean Pacific or a particular staff member, we encourage students to make an appointment (contact details on pg 3).

Acknowledgements We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deans and leaders in the Division for the financial, academic and general support for Pacific Students and Staff in the Division.

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Message from the Associate Dean Pacific Warm Pacific Greetings, We look forward to working with you all to ensure you succeed in your aspirations for the future. Dr. Fa’afetai Sopoaga Address: 1/325 Great King Street Ground Floor, Physio Building Email: Phone: (03) 479 8483

You are not alone! The prayers, thoughts and hopes of your parents and families are with you.

Success comes with determination and hard work. Work hard, pray always, and trust your future in God‘s hands. We wish you all the best for exams and all future endeavours.

Remember If something unexpected happens or if things don‘t go according to plan – please make contact with us, your support staff or the Pacific Islands Centre as early as possible so we can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

The University is keen to ensure you reach your goals and dreams.

PIHPSA Corner Warm Pacific Greetings to you all! Welcome to the PIHPSA team! We hope this year has kicked off to a great start for you all! Speaking of this year it is a very exciting time to be a part of PIHPSA. So to begin with, we just want to give you a run down of who we are, what our vision is and what our goals are for 2011. PIHPSA stands for Pacific Island Health Professional Students Association. PIHPSA was started 5 years ago by Prerna (She is now working as a doc!) whose vision was to support our students & encourage networking between and within the health professions. Since then PIHPSA has been working to achieve that vision via mentoring, advocacy, organising social events, sending students to conferences, cultural dances, Friday lunches, Page 2

encouraging research and the list goes on! Here is a list of our purposes and aims:  To provide mentoring and support for Pacific Island Students studying health professional courses.  To help facilitate networking for our students with our future and existing health professionals.  To encourage Pacific culture and community  To provide a forum where students can be informed of pacific health issues  To help advise academic institutions on pacific curriculum and Pacific island recruitment and retention  To promote health professions as careers in pacific communities As your president, my hope is to help create a culture of

unity, encouragement and support for you all. We want to see you all achieve to the best of your abilities and we hope we can be instrumental in getting you there. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or you just want to say hi! Otherwise we are so proud of you all & wish you all the best in your studies & any upcoming exams!

“Go hard & be encouraged that you DO have what it takes to make it in this journey we call life! The sky really is the limit!”

Your ATTITUDE, not your APTITUDE, determines your ALTITUDE. Zig Ziglar God bless! Ex oh ex oh Your president, Vic

Victoria Dol PIHPSA President 2011

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

PIHPSA Student Executive Body Victoria Dol, President 5th Year Medicine

Raksha Goundar, Pharmacy Rep 4th Year Pharmacy

Melbourne Mauiliu, OSMS Rep 3rd Year Anatomy

Asa Sitiveni, Dentistry Rep 2nd Year Dent.

Tarucilla Tatui, Med Rep 3rd Year Medicine

Mathew Amituanai, Physio Rep 3rd Year Physio

Rowena Peters, PIHPSA Coordinator 2nd Year Medicine

Vienna Masoe, HSFY Rep Health Science First Year

Jordan Taylor, Treasurer First Year Health Science

Tia Fatu, Secretary Bachelor of Oral Health


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PIRSSU Contact Details

Dr Faafetai Sopoaga Associate Dean Pacific Division of Health Sciences

Eric Nabalagi Community Liaison PIRSSU

Malia Lameta PA/Administrator to the Associate Dean Pacific PIRSSU

Talai Mapusua Research Assistant PIRSSU

Melbourne Mauiliu Student Liaison PIRSSU

To contact any or all PIRSSU staff, please use the PIRSSU email address under Contact details.

Malia Lameta PA/Administrator to the Associate Dean Pacific 1/325 Great King Street Rm G01, Ground Floor Physio Building University of Otago Office: (03) 479 8493 Fax: (03) 479 3935

Newsletter Title

Division of Health Sciences Support Network and Relationships

Pacific Strategic Group


Pacific Student Support Staff Group










Pacific Islands Centre

Divisional Office

Pacific Communities

Student Learning Centre

Maori Development Unit

Pacific Organisations


International Student


Other Divisions

Other Universities = Divisional groups and units.

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Volume 1, Issue 1

PacificPacific Strategic Group Strategic Group Division

DSM Dentistry Physiotherapy Pharmacy OSMS Planning & Funding Pacific Islands Centre Wellington Campus Christchurch Campus PIHPSA Pacific Trust Otago

Prof. Crampton, PVC Andrea Howard, Director Policy and Planning Dr Faafetai Sopoaga, Associate Dean Pacific Richard White, Administrative Support Prof. Philip Hill Dr Rose Richards Dr Jonathan Leichter Chris Higgs Prof. Pauline Norris Assoc. Prof. Tony Merriman Naomi Weaver Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai Dr Karlo Mila TBC President x2 Lester Dean

Pacific Student Support Group Rosemary Kardos—Senior Lecturer Dentistry Email: Phone Number:7476

Katrina Bryant—Pro. Practice Fellow Physiotherapy Email: Phone Number: 4034

Dr Latika Samalia—Pro. Practice Fellow Anatomy & Structural Biology Email: Phone Number: 5145

Prof. Pauline Norris—Chair in Social Pharmacy Pharmacy Email: Phone Number: 7359

Assoc. Prof. Mike Legge—Course Director, MedLab Sci. Pathology Email: Phone Number: 7845

Dr Susan Heydon—Lecturer Pharmacy Email: Phone Number: 5875

Dr Faafetai Sopoaga, Associate Dean Pacific Medicine Email: Phone Number: 8493

Craig Watson, Clinical Tutor Radiation Therapy Email: Phone Number:

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Mystery Bus Tour The Mystery Bus Tour was held 19th March 2011 and was a way of initiating our first year students to Dunedin city and networking with senior Pacific health professional students. The Bus tour was also a way for our returning students to reconnect with each other and get themselves set for another busy but rewarding year of study. The tour guide was Antonio

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(Kiwi Shuttles), a local Samoan businessman who took the students on a tour around the Dunedin Town belt, out to St Clair, up the mountain to Signal hill/Lookout point, back down to Baldwin St and then off to the mystery location in Leith Valley. Students were split into teams and competed in various activities that included a race up Baldwin St (the steepest street in

the world!!), games on the Beach, team building activities on Signal Hill and a quiz on the information included in the tour of the city. The Mystery Bus Tour concluded with a brunch at the Mystery location and a hike through the pine forest. It was enjoyed very much by all who attended.

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

PIHPSA Friday Lunch Sessions These sessions provide a mixture of academic, mentoring and general support. They are held every Friday from 1-2pm (during term time) at the Hunter Centre, Division of Health Sciences. The sessions provide good opportunities for support staff and PIHPSA students to meet. External guests are also invited to present on important topics. Friday sessions are open to PIHPSA students, PIHPSA Alumni and staff in the Division of Health Sciences.

OSMS. PIHPSA Alumni and Post graduates students also have an opportunity to present during these meetings. Presentations include academic topics, cultural sessions, social activities and research-related topics. Sessions are chaired by either PIHPSA or staff member. We are exploring the possibility of joining PIHPSA students and support staff from Wellington and Christchurch to these sessions.

Topics for presentation provided are shared between Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, PIHPSA, Medicine and

Please contact us if you need more information.

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Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Upcoming Events POPO Reconnect 16th July 1-2pm Hunter Centre Research Development Forum 16th July 2-4pm Hunter Centre NB—Run in collaboration with HRC and Divisional Research and Development Team. Friday lunch time sessions Friday 1-2pm, Hunter Centre.

Pacific Strategic Meetings (PSG): 12-1pm, Board Room May 31st Aug 23rd Nov 22nd Pacific Student Support Staff Group (PSSSG): 1-2pm. Ground Floor, G01, Physiotherapy Building Aug 8th Nov 7th

Pacific Workshop TBC – August/Sept.

Thought of the day... A little Chinese boy who lived in Manila was saving up to buy a bike, but when he had saved about 3 pounds he decided there was something he wanted even more than a bike—and that was to help the Chinese people who were suffering terribly in China because of the way Japan was smashing their homes and ruining their farms. He knew that many of those poor people were starving, and he decided that he had better do something about it. So he went to a Bakery and spent all the money he had saved on sacks and sacks of bread. He then dragged hi sacks of bread to the Chinese Relief Committee Offices. The people there were very surprised to see all this bread and wondered what in the world they were going to do with it. They didn‘t want to hurt the little chap‘s feelings by telling him that if they tried to send it to China it would be stale and moldy before it got there. So, at last they decided Page 8

to call it ‗patriotic bread‘, and sell it again to the Chinese people in Manila. It was amazing how quickly it was bought. At the end of the day the boy‘s 3 pounds had grown to 10. ―This is a great idea‖, said the committee, and with the 10 pounds they bought more bread and tied labels to it telling people that it was ‗patriotic bread‘ again. The Chinese women of Manila sold ir outside shops and theatres, and everyone rushed to buy it. After three days, the 3 pounds had grown to 300 pounds, and this sum was sent to China in the boys name. But the story isn‘t finished yet. An American returned from Manila and told this story to a great many people. Among those who heard it was Mr Henry Ford, the Motorcar Manufacturer, and his wife felt sorry that because of his unselfishness the boy didn‘t get his bike for which he had saved so hard. She sent $20.00 to Manila and asked the China Relief Committee to buy a bike for him. They did so, and the wife

of the American commissioner presented it to him at a public ceremony attended by all the important people of the town. But, although he now had his bike, the boy still wanted as much as ever to help the poor people of china, and so he decided to hire out the bike for 2 shillings an hour and send all the money to the relief fund. This bicycle is now supporting a Christian home for fifteen orphan boys. In the famous words of General Maximus, in the Gladiator, ―What we do in life echoes in eternity‖... So what is the moral of this story? No matter your age, no matter your station in life, no matter your importance in other‘s eyes, and no matter how little you feel you have to give... You can make a difference!

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Summer Research, Scholarships in Health Sciences Each year the Division hosts a large number of summer research scholars at each of its three campuses. This involves a student completing a research project over the summer break in an area of interest such as clinical or laboratory -based research, biomedical science, ethics, or public health. Applications close - 27 August 2010

Notification of outcome October 2010

HRC MÄ ori and Pacific Island Summer Studentships

University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Below are brief descriptions of the kinds of research carried out by those students who were successful in obtaining Summer Studentships.

University of Otago, Christchurch Summer Studentships University of Otago, Wellington Summer Studentships

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can apply for multiple scholarships, but you will be offered only one. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information or need assistance with applications.

Deans‘ Prestigious Summer Scholarships

Mathew Amituanai

Shivanjali Lingam

Rhys Faavae

Sara Samuelu

Physiotherapy Summer Studentship 2010

PGDipSci (Physiology) Summer Studentship 2010

Medicine Summer Studentship 2010

BSc (Physiology) Summer Studentship 2010

A qualitative analyses of the ideas surrounding and perceptions of traditional medicine and healing in Samoa.

Pacific Trust Otago, Results from Program Evaluation of Exercise Classes particularly Zumba.

Perceptions of wellbeing and body image in Polynesian adolescents in Dunedin using EQ5D and PHQ-2 health surveys.

Program Evaluation of Pacific Trust Otago Cooking Classes: Are cooking classes an effective means for health promotion?

Oceania Olympic goal for siblings Featured last month in the Otago Daily Times, the Nicholas siblings are making a name for themselves in the kayaking and canoeing world.

The Nicholas siblings, Bryden, Ella and Jane, are canoe slalom internationals.

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stage. While Jane will continue to represent New Zealand, Bryden and Ella have decided to represent the Cook Islands in a bid to increase Oceania's regional Olympic qualifying number.

Bryden (22), Ella (20) and Jane (18) have all competed for New Zealand in both kayaking and canoeing. The siblings leave on another adventure in Europe in June.

The three siblings grew up in Tauranga and were basketball representatives for the Bay of Plenty before moving south to Dunedin.

Bryden and Ella are both studying Medicine, while Jane is an Health Sciences first year student.

We wish them well in any upcoming tournaments and all the best for the rest of their studies.

Of Cook Island descent, the three siblings have represented New Zealand on the international

Go hard!

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Health Science Fono 13th-15th May 2011 Waihola Christian Youth Campsite The Health Sciences Pacific Camp was run by the PIRSSU team in collaboration with PIHPSA with support from the Pacific community. It was great to have PIHPSA students from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown join us. The theme of the camp was “Building awareness of Pacific Health through Networking & Research”. Students were encouraged to consider doing research as part of their training in Health Sciences, either as undergraduates or post-graduates. Pacific Research staff and students presented their work and provided pathways for budding researchers. Over the weekend 65 people attend the camp which was given a “thumbs up” by everyone. A big thank you to all who helped out including our camp parents Rev. Ieriko & Aniva Slater. Our exercise guru Ala – provided early morning Zumba exercise. Thank you – Zumba master!! The highlight for those with competitive streaks…was The Amazing Race – where five teams

travelled across the Pacific testing their brains, stomachs, courage, dexterity and fitness!! Later that evening everyone enjoyed the guitar skills of Dr Vaaiga (PIHPSA Alumni) and all joined in singing around the bonfire until the early hours of the morning – toasting marshmellows…yummy…yum. Now about those bananas….well that’s another story… After only a few hours sleep, everyone was up again to help prep Sunday lunch…this was part of their cultural training…the making of an Umu – baking food the traditional way. Our Pro VC attended on Sunday to provide inspiring words for students…to help them on their journey…. Dare to Be Wise…Dare to Dream….Dare to Succeed! Students joined staff and the community to a traditional Sunday lunch. Buon Appetito!! It was sad when it was time for farewells… but then again…we will see each other again next Friday!!...Hooray!

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter

Scholarship Information/Useful Websites Now is the time to start thinking about applying for scholarships and funding both as undergraduate students and post-graduates. If you feel that you do not have the grades or that there are no scholarships out there that fit your circumstances, please do not dismiss this section. When applying for scholarships, the worst that can happen is that your application is not successful. If this happens, you

are no worse off than before. Make sure you shop around for scholarships. There are many organization that offer both funding and scholarships, the following are a few that offer scholarships however, please contact Malia Lameta (details on pg3) if you need more information or assistance in filling out the application forms. The following websites are a few of the many sites that offer scholarships and funding:

University of Otago Scholarships Database: scholarships/index.html

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs: scholarships/

Health Research Council Funding and Scholarships: search.html? search=scholarship

Ministry of Health: mohcorp/careers.aspx?id=276

Break Out Scholarships: index.php?page=BreakOut

Pacific Islands Centre: pacific/ Divisional Website (admission information):

POPO Programme POPO Initiative – Health Sciences First Year

Join us on Facebook under Pacific Health Sciences

Photos Events Networking Information And Meet those in your field

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POPO stands for Pacific Orientation Programme at Otago. POPO is the Samoan word for ―coconut‖. It has three meanings : 

Old coconut – out of which a young plant or new growth emerges  To nurture  To capture the moment. This initiative aims to ensure that first year Health Sciences students with a desire to work in the health field are able to engage with and benefit from all support services available to them in their first year at University. It nurtures the aspirations of students to do well and help them ―capture the moment‖ for success. POPO is a Ministry of Health funded initiative and it runs for 13 weeks during the First Semester. Peer educators (PEs) are senior Pacific students in Health Sciences who meet with POPO students weekly. PEs meet with staff from the Student Learning Centre and PIRSSU each week to de-brief after engagement with their

POPO students. Academic performance of POPO students is monitored by the Associate Dean Pacific, and concerns are addressed early to ensure they receive appropriate academic and general support where required. POPO students attend group tutorials offered by the Pacific Islands Centre. For those who need extra assistance additional tutorial sessions are organised through the POPO programme. The mid-year and end of year results for students will be obtained and compared with the performance of Pacific students in previous years. The preparedness of health sciences first year Pacific students prior to attending University will also be analysed.

The outcomes from the POPO initiative will be disseminated in 2011.

Dare to Care We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. Charles R. Swindoll

Pacific Islands Research & Student Support Unit Newsletter


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PIRSSU Newsletter June2011  

PIRSSU Newsletter, Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago

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