New Zealand Medical Students' AssociationTuesday 14 August 2012, 11:35AM
Media release from New Zealand Medical Students'
The New Zealand Medical Students' Association (NZMSA) urges health
professional programmes to incorporate social accountability
practices into their selection and training processes for a high
quality health workforce for all New Zealanders.
"Introducing socially accountable education practices for health
professionals will mean that our future doctors, nurses and allied
health professionals will be more representative and more in-tune
with the needs of the communities they will later serve," says
NZMSA president, Michael Chen-Xu.
"As a consequence, our future health professionals will be better
equipped to address the challenges facing our health system, such
as the resurgence of third-world infectious diseases like rheumatic
fever, and the shortage of general practitioners and doctors in
"Importantly, they will also be more likely to want to work here in
Medical schools with strong social accountability mandates, such as
the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Canada and the Flinders
University School of Medicine in Australia, deliver graduates that
are more likely to work in rural areas and have higher levels of
clinical competencies .
"An important facet of socially accountable education involves
getting students to make meaningful contributions to their
communities and to society," says Mr Chen-Xu.
"These contributions can range from student-lead public health
projects sourced from local communities, through to placing
students on extended placements in rural or hard-to-staff
A recent article in the Otago Daily Times reported that almost 40
percent of those entering health professional programmes at the
University of Otago came from the wealthiest 20 percent of
"A more representative health workforce will require ensuring
equitable access to the health professional degrees, as currently
only the wealthiest are increasingly be able to do so," says Mr
"We fear that the recent changes to Student Allowances and Student
Loans schemes will exacerbate the current inequalities in access to
the health professional degrees thereby jeopardising the quality of
New Zealand's future health workforce."
NZMSA believes that the introduction of socially accountable
practices into the selection and education process for our future
health professionals will lead to a more representative and higher
quality health workforce, which will be for the benefit of all New