Maori medical student receives top Maori GP prize

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ProCareTLeah Te Weehi of Auckland received the ProCare Prize in General Practice today as the top-rated Maori medical student at the fifth-year undergraduate medical course at University of Auckland’s School of Medicine.

ProCare board chairman, Dr Peter Didsbury presented the award during a ceremony this morning at Waipapa Marae, on the university campus.

ProCare is proud to honour Leah’s achievements and encourage her interest in general practice,” he said. “As the role of primary care becomes increasingly more important in our health care system, we need more GPs, particularly Maori GPs, to serve their communities.”

The annual award of $2,000 was created in 2003 to encourage and support Maori students to choose a career in general practice. Leah said she plans to use the prize for an elective, ten-week placement in London in May.

“It is a real privilege to receive this award and have this support,” Leah said. “For me, the advantages of a career in General Practice are the opportunity to have a positive and useful role within a community, and the chance to form long and rewarding therapeutic relationships with members of the community.”

As a general practitioner in New Zealand, Leah said she would focus on improvements in Maori health status.

“This area of medicine is particularly helpful in achieving this goal as general practitioners are there on the frontline, often a patient’s first contact with the medical world. They can influence how a person sees their health, how they see health professionals, and be an advocate for them when accessing secondary services.”

The award was presented in conjunction with the University of Auckland, School of Population Health.

ProCare also presents an annual Prize in General Practice to a top-rated Pacific medical student, which will be awarded soon.

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