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Maori Health Issues in the spotlight

Maori Health Issues in the spotlight

More than 300 University of Auckland second-year students of medicine, nursing and pharmacy will spend next week immersed in Maori health issues during Te Wiki o Te Hauora Maori - Maori Health Week 12 - 15 July.

The intensive course - run by the University's Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences - is a compulsory part of the students' degree programmes. It is the only course of its kind in New Zealand to involve all three of these health professions.

Professor Colin Mantell, Head of Maori and Pacific Health, says there has long been a discrepancy between Maori and non-Maori health status.

"That gap continues to exist, and for too long New Zealand's health professionals have been ill-equipped to recognise and address the causes of this disparity. We can't graduate health professionals in New Zealand without them having a strong understanding of what it means to be a Maori.

"Health professionals should be aware of the needs of Maori patients and how their needs differ from those of other patients. This will also help build competency in dealing with patients of other ethnic groups," says Professor Mantell.

The programme, which will see students from the medical, nursing and pharmacy programmes work together in interdisciplinary teams, will introduce students to the concept of working together with other health professionals once they graduate.

The teams will reflect on Maori health, how Maori health issues are addressed by health services and the role and impact of health professionals in Maori Health.

Activities are based around a set of case studies addressing health issues of particular significance to Maori. Topics include diabetes, hearing difficulties, heart disease, meningococcal disease, smoking-related lung disease and mental health.

By the end of the week, students will give presentations showing their understanding of how a particular issue affects Maori, and how that issue might be managed at district health board level.

The Faculty's Department of Maori and Pacific Health have developed the week, in conjunction with the heads of the nursing, pharmacy and medicine programmes, and with advice from Maori community leaders.

The course includes a Marae stay-over and a Powhiri to welcome the students, facilitators and cultural advisors. Media are welcome to attend the Powhiri.

Details of the Powhiri are as follows:

Time: 9.30am

Date: Monday, 12 July 2004

Location: Waipapa Marae, The University of Auckland

Address: cnr of Alten Rd and Wynyard St behind the Human Science Building, City Campus

Please RSVP to Julie Wade on 373 7599 ext.85695.

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