Six Pasifika female GPs gain College Fellowship

upload photoSix Pacific female GPs were honoured at a Fellowship ceremony in Auckland on 30 July witnessed by hundreds of invited guests.

Dr Monica Nua (Samoan/Niuean), Dr Aumea Herman (Cook Is Maori), Dr Justine Mesui (Tongan), Dr Malia Lavemai (Samoan), Dr Heidi Muller (Samoan) and Dr L’Ondine Tukuitonga (Samoan/Niuean/Tokelauen/Solomon/Fiji) were recognised after years of service, study and training to become Fellows of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

College President Dr Tim Malloy says honouring six Pacific female doctors marks a significant milestone for the College.

“The College is committed to ensuring the GP workforce reflects New Zealand’s population and we are pleased to welcome this cohort of Pasifika doctors as College members,” says Dr Malloy.

“These Pasifika women will make a great contribution by helping to improve health outcomes for their respective communities.”

Fellowship is achieved in the culmination of a minimum of 11 years’ work – this typically includes six years’ medical study, two years’ prevocational training and three years completing the College’s General Practice Education Programme.

“What a great achievement; not one but six Pacific female doctors” says Pasifika Medical Association Chief Executive Mrs Debbie Sorensen.

“It’s extremely important to recognise the contribution of female doctors in the medical practice and to recognise the unique contribution that Pacific female doctors make to NZ and the Pacific healthcare service.”

“We hope this achievement will inspire the next generation of Pacific doctors, nurses and health leaders in the Pacific,” says Mrs Sorensen.

One of the College’s key strategic pillars is health equity; which includes growing the Pasifika GP workforce and working collectively to improve the health of Pasifika communities in New Zealand.

In 2015 the College established a Pacific Chapter and in June the College signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cook Islands Ministry of Health, enabling Cook Islands’ doctors to participate in its General Practice Education Programme.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but we hope this group of new Fellows will be an inspiration to other young Pasifika medical students and doctors considering a career in general practice,” says Dr Malloy.

The College annual Fellowship Ceremony honoured 252 new Fellows being accepted into The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners. This includes six Pasifika Fellows and 15 Māori Fellows.

The ceremony was a great ending to the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ Conference which was attended by over 600 delegates.