Prestigious awards presented to Maori med students

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Two medical students have been awarded the prestigious John McLeod scholarships this year for demonstrated academic excellence.

Courtney Hore (Ngai Tahu, Te Arawa) and Aroha Siilata (Ngati Raukawa, Tuhourangi, Samoa, Fiji) were chosen amongst 579 students who have been granted Hauora Maori scholarships this year.

Scholarship grants were awarded to 579 of the over 800 students who applied under the Ministry of Healths Hauora Maori Scholarships programme this year. The Hauora Maori scholarships, of which the John McLeod Scholarships are a part, are awarded to help Maori students continue their studies in a range of health areas, including nursing, pharmacy, medicine and dentistry.

Ms Hore has just completed her studies in medicine and surgery at the University of Otagos Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her interests are in oncology, haematology and surgery, and she plans to undertake research alongside medical practice in the future.

She cited that her involvement in Kaupapa Maori Research in the Maori/Indigenous Health Institute at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences has given her an invaluable appreciation for, and understanding of, the health realities for Maori. Click here to view some of her research.

My research experience with the Institute has given me insights into what is lacking in our communities to address Maori health inequalities and how I can use this knowledge in my future practice, she cited.

Ms Siilata has just finished the third year of her medical studies at the University of Auckland. She was Head Girl at Auckland Grammar School in 2006 and a leader in her Kapa Haka and Pacific Island Dance performing groups. She also represented Aotearoa at the annual All Pacific Prayer Assemblies from 2004 to 2007. This year, she mentored two first-year pre-med students.

I am interested in dermatology but I havent done a lot of practical work yet. I dont know what area I will specialise in yet because there are so many possibilities and opportunities in medicine. What I am committed to, though, is working for Maori and Pacific communities, Ms Siilata said.

The John McLeod scholarships are named after Dr John McLeod (Nga Puhi), who was well-known nationally and internationally for his work in public health and his significant contribution toward improving Maori health. More than 25 students have been awarded this scholarship since it was established in 2000.

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