The annual Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) scholarships with a combined total of $90,000, will be awarded this week to support 13 medical students who have given exemplary service to improving the health of Pasifika people in New Zealand and the Pacific regions.
The scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, which havebeen named after life members of the PMA, have been awarded on a yearly basis since 2018 and provides tuition and study related costs to assist people into medical and health related careers. There are also scholarships awarded to an overseas placement and students from Otahuhu College’s Science Technology English and Maths (STEM) programme, an initiative supported by the association which prepares Pacific high school students for a career in health science.
PMA CEO, Debbie Sorensen, told the NZ Doctor that the scholarships ensure more Pacific students are supported in careers that will benefit the Pacific community.
“Our group has been supporting Pacific clinicians for over 20 years, we recognise their value to the health sector and Pacific communities continue to benefit from their expertise.”
“The scholarships help remove any hardships and barriers students might have in entering tertiary education. We know that the average income for Pacific people is $20, 000 per annum so if you come from a family where money is not readily available, then that’s tough.”
“We don’t see this as a handout but as a hand up. There are many willing hands around these people to support them to be the very best that they can be.”
Many of the past recipients have been the first in their families to go to university and have been mentored by senior Pacific health professionals and members of the PMA.
The new scholarship winners will be announced in a ceremony on Wednesday, December 9, at the Cordis in Auckland.
The six scholarships are:
- The Sorensen Pacific Health Scholarship
- Dr Leopino Foliaki University of Auckland Scholarship
- Papa’ali’i Dr Semisi Ma’ia’i University of Otago Scholarship
- Christina Atoa Tapu Nursing Scholarship
- Violani ‘Ilolahia Wills Nursing Scholarship
- Sir Terepai Tuamure Maoate International Study Award
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Leaupepe Ta’ala Ralph Elika