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Dedication to rural health recognised


15 April 2008

Dedication to rural health recognised

Jean Ross of Otago Polytechnic and Dr Pat Farry of Otago University were recipients of the prestigious Peter Snow Memorial Award at the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network’s conference.

Network chair, Kirsty Murrell-McMillan, said that the award recognises both recipients’ significant contributions to rural health.

“The two educators have worked hard to combat the shortage of health professionals in rural areas.”

Jean Ross, a principal lecturer at Otago Polytechnic, received her award for her contribution to rural nursing.

“The selection panel was particularly impressed with her research, numerous publications and support for her rural nursing colleagues,” said Mrs Murrell-McMillan.

Ms Ross has had a significant influence on nurses working in rural areas to develop their skills in order to meet the changing demands of rural communities.

She played a major role in ensuring the Government provides rural nursing scholarships through the Ministry of Health.

“Jean has also been influential in getting younger blood into rural nursing and has spearheaded the development of vital rural nursing programmes and qualifications.”

Dr Pat Farry, of Otago University, has been involved with rural health care for 36 years. He was recognised for his pioneering work in improving rural health, including numerous publications and the establishment of Te Wai Pounamu Rural Health Unit at Otago Medical School.

Dr Farry was a strong advocate for the development of a national rural immersion programme, allowing students to spend their entire fifth year of study working in rural communities and making them more likely to choose rural practice as a career.

“He has been instrumental in running training programmes and nurturing students’ exposure to rural health which has really made rural health more attractive to younger doctors.”

Both Dr Farry and Ms Ross are passionate about promoting rural health as a highly rewarding opportunity to develop a wide range of diverse skills in a rewarding environment.

The Peter Snow Memorial Award was established in 2007 to recognise the dedication of the former Tapanui GP who passed away in 2006. A champion of rural health, Dr Snow was a sole GP in West Otago for 35 years and raised a family while practicing, teaching and farming.

The award recognises health professionals with a passion for rural communities. It is open to general practitioners and rural nurses, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate trainees who are based in New Zealand.

Recipients receive an award of $1000 and a hand-crafted medal from the Network, New Zealand’s only nationwide membership-based organisation representing the interests of rural general practice and, in particular, rural health workforce issues.

The Network was established by a small group of enthusiastic rural general practitioners to provide a support network for general practice. Today the Network provides two recruitment services, NZMedics and NZLocums, and administers two Government contracts to ensure rural communities have access to quality health care. The service helps rural practitioners to recruit locums and secure long-term or permanent appointments.


For further information about NZMedics and NZLocums, visit and

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