SMO Shortlist

SMO Shortlist 2017 Medical Teaching Award

SMO Shortlist


The NZMA and NZMSA are looking for further examples of excellent teaching displayed by the SMO finalists for the New Zealand Medical Teaching Award.  

If you know of, or have worked with any of the below SMO shortlisted candidates and would like to provide extra information that is relevant and will assist the judging panel in their decision, please fill in the:

SMO New Zealand Medical Teaching Award finalist feedback form.

Final judging for the 2017 New Zealand Medical Teaching Award will be performed by a second committee of judges—including relevant experts—who will review all feedback for the candidates and select one winner for each of the RMO and SMO award categories.

You have until 4pm, Friday 20 October 2017 to provide feedback on the below finalists.






I am from Northland and studied at Auckland University. I had a rather circuitous route in becoming a GP, initially training in a couple of other specialities. I work for an iwi health organisation providing free care to people within a predominately rural area. In addition, I work part time as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, where I am the Year Four Course Director for General Practice. My research interests are in improving quality and equity in primary care as well as exploring ways of improving the educational environment for medical students in general practice.

Why I chose to practice medicine

I have to admit that improving quality and equity was not what motivated me to become a doctor. I wanted to be a surgeon! It wasn't until I returned to Northland as a GP that I realised that while Northland is rich in spirit and culture it is poor in a lot of other indicators. I appreciated that there was a lot that I could do as a doctor and a teacher to address health inequalities. What I want my students to know is that through the power of human connection, through building trust and forging relationships we can understand the rich milieu of our patient's lives and better address health inequalities.

What I enjoy about teaching

My teaching involves supervising the Year Four general practice programme at the University of Auckland, leading small group general practice teaching for Year Four, Five and Six students. In addition I take Year Four students in my practice for their two week attachments. I have led a number of innovative programmes in the Department of General Practice including implementing student led discussion forums, measuring the educational environment of general practice and standardising the assessment of medical students in general practice. I enjoy teaching immensely. I am constantly amazed at how knowledgeable students are compared to what I was like as a student. So many students impress me with their desire to affect change in our society that I hold huge hope for our future medical workforce.




I was born in Hastings, raised in Auckland and attended Auckland medical school. My last year was as a trainee intern at the brand new Waikato Clinical School. Following this I did my house officer years at Waikato, became a med reg and sat the FRACP exam. I did 18 months of oncology training in Hamilton before moving to Newcastle (Australia) to complete my training as a medical oncologist. I worked as an oncologist in Australia for 3 years before returning to Tauranga as the first on-site oncologist and setting up the oncology service here.

I have always enjoyed teaching and so even as a house officer I used to spend time teaching medical students. This has continued throughout my career, teaching a mixture of med students and junior doctors. In Australia I ran the oncology teaching programme for the University of Newcastle, school of medicine and all of the 5th year medical students rotated through our department for a few weeks at a time. I am currently the trainee intern supervisor at the BOP clinical school and give weekly tutorials to the trainee interns as well as weekly oncology tutorials to a steady stream of 4th years who rotate through the department! Overall 0.5-1.0 days a week are devoted to teaching medical students. In addition to teaching I spend quite a lot of time mentoring students and junior doctors, helping them pick and encouraging them to pursue their career pathways and lots of general pastoral care. I find all of this very rewarding although can be time consuming.

My teaching style is direct. I like to challenge and stimulate the students. As a teacher I think our FIRST responsibility is to be interesting. You could be telling people how to cure cancer and they won’t take it in if you are boring. The second important thing is to care about the students. I have a great deal of empathy and compassion for medical students. I had a dreadful time as a med student myself so very much understand the feeling of being out of my depth and unsupported which can accompany some placements during medical school. My philosophy with regard to this is to allow the student to extend themselves and get out of their comfort zone, however with a large NET below them to catch them if they are struggling. This approach takes effort is it is much easier to do something yourself or leave a student alone to try and do it, than to watch someone else do something. However there is no better way to learn.

The next most important thing about teaching is structure. Information has to be provided in a structure which can be erected in the students own brain to allow them to understand and remember. I spend time with all of my students not only talking about medicine but also about how to learn and retain and understand knowledge. Hopefully this gives them a better chance to retain and understand not only what I am teaching them now, but things they will learn in the future.

During my time I have met a few great teachers. These were always the ones who challenged me and were interested in me. I try and emulate them with the students who I have under my care.





I was born in England, studied at Manchester University, and became a GP in the Scottish Highlands. I worked as a GP for 10 years before coming out to New Zealand in 2011 with my husband, Scott. We are both animal lovers and have (too) many pets on our little block.

I became interested in teaching after 2 or 3 years as a new GP partner in Scotland. After getting my practice through training accreditation status and having our first registrar a whole new world opened up to me. The learners were enthusiastic, inquisitive and great fun to be around, and the teaching community was close knit, supportive and full of inspirational people.

When my husband and I moved to New Zealand, we quickly settled into lovely Blenheim, and I was immediately taken with the supportive nature of my new medical home, Springlands Health. It was one of only 2 teaching practices in the region, and it quickly became apparent we had very little throughput of new GP learners, and this was a significant threat for our region's GP future. The RNZCGP recognised the problem and, to my delight, decided to appoint me as the GPEP1 medical educator for the Marlborough region, tasked with co-ordinating a local GPEP1 program which would help our region attract a younger workforce. It was my ideal job, one I didn’t think I would have in my corner of NZ, and I was thrilled.

Quite simply, teaching others makes me a much better GP. I wanted to be a doctor to make a positive difference to others, and make me be the best version of myself. It’s a humbling role. When others are looking to you as a role model, you need to up your game to the very best of your abilities. But more than that, you need to question the changing world around you, and empower the next generation to take the profession forward, to challenge the status quo, be the future leaders and visionaries New Zealand needs. Teaching means I can make an even bigger difference. There is no better motivator.




My name is Habibur Rahman and I am Consultant General Surgeon in the Department of General Surgery at Middlemore Hospital. I have been in this position since the year 2000.

I am from Fiji and studied medicine at the Fiji School of Medicine in Suva, Fiji. I moved to New Zealand after the two military coups in Fiji in 1987. In New Zealand I did further studies and passed the New Zealand Registration Examination and worked in Waikato, Auckland, North Shore and Middlemore Hospitals. I did my surgical training at the above Hospitals also and received my Fellowship in General Surgery in the Year 2000. I was offered a Consultant position at Middlemore Hospital in the same year.

I have done post fellowship training in endocrine surgery and bariatric surgery. I was also instrumental in setting up the Bariatric Unit at Middlemore Hospital in 2006. This was the first comprehensive Bariatric Unit in the country.

My passion for teaching came after I sat the New Zealand Registration Exam and realised that there was no help, guidelines or resources for overseas graduates. After I passed the Registration Exam I set up free tutorials for overseas Doctors in the Auckland area. I also became an Examiner for New Zealand Registration Examinations in General Surgery and I held that position for 10 years. I was also appointed Intern Supervisor at Middlemore Hospital in the Year 2000 and was also in that position for 10 years.

My extra curricular work involves refugee and migrant resettlement. I have been an Ambassador for No Family Violence, and been a Chairperson for a local school Board of Trustees in the Mangere area.

Currently I am a member of the Board of Trustees at Alfalah Trust which is a charitable organisation. I am a member of the Clinical Governance Team at Ormiston Hospital.

I provide careers advice to underprivileged students in South Auckland and I am heavily involved with providing help for underprivileged people in the form of grocery supplementation through a charitable organisation.

My passion and challenge for teaching in medicine was to simplify medical phenomena. This was done by creating diagrams and pictures and having a mental picture of the processes that were being taught. Using this, the interrelated processes are worked out and this creates an understanding of the whole process rather than trying to remember it.

I also enjoy the collegial interactions with the students and young Doctors. I have found and learnt that teaching brings out some of the areas of weakness in myself and how I can improve every time I teach. I have learnt from the students themselves who have studied things that are outside my area of expertise.


If you know of, or have worked with any of the above SMO shortlisted candidates and would like to provide extra information that is relevant and will assist the judging panel in their decision, please fill in the SMO New Zealand Medical Teaching Award finalist feedback form.