There are a number of potential mini project ideas, which we would like to include in the research project. These are potential ideas for Honours or Masters projects, Trainee Intern projects or summer internships and can be completed by anyone, not necessarily Māori medical students or doctors. Please get in touch with the team to register your interest or find out more: [email protected]


12-month projects: MA/BMedSci(Hons)/BHSc(Hons)

The team has the capacity to supervise one student to complete one of the following projects – depending on the student’s interests. All options can be completed under supervision at Honours or Masters level by a student within the 12-month time frame.

The projects are: 

Survey of Medical Colleges

There is currently limited understanding of how New Zealand Medical Colleges are supporting the Māori medical specialist workforce, and the types of programmes, policies and initiatives in place. This survey of the medical colleges will provide a baseline to then measure changes in this area over time. This project will bring together the literature (including the recent Te ORA and Council of Medical Colleges (2021) report on cultural safety in New Zealand Medical Colleges and the AIDA survey report (2020)) to develop the survey. The survey will then be undertaken with the New Zealand Medical Colleges to measure the actions they are taking to develop and support the Māori medical specialist workforce within their college. Information from the survey will be collated and analysed in a report.

Barriers and supports to complaints processes

Little is known about how Māori medical students, who have experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination, feel about the formal complaints processes within their education, training and work environments. This project will look at student-identified barriers and supports to inform intervention strategies. This project is likely to involve qualitative interviews with Māori medical students regarding the barriers and supports for the complaints process related to experiences of bullying, discrimination and harassment. Information from the interviews will be collated into a report, highlighting key themes and recommendations for potential complaints processes and interventions.

Te Reo Māori version of the survey

There are currently limited Te Reo Māori (Te Reo) resources for quantitative survey use in the field of health in Aotearoa. Two surveys are being developed in English for Māori medical students and doctors on experiences of bullying, harassment and discrimination within training and workplace environments as part of Te Whakahaumaru Taiao. This project would involve translating and validating the surveys, or some key questions, into Te Reo Māori. The student will need to be a Te Reo Māori speaker and writer. The project would involve translating a quantitative survey into Te Reo Māori, which includes; defining key terms within the survey in Te Reo, detailing the process of translation of a survey, translating the survey, inputting the translated survey into Qualtrics and validating the survey with Te Reo speakers.

Discourse analysis of skin tone in teaching resources

It is known that visual representation and familiarity with disease presentation is an important diagnostic tool for medical training. Overseas studies have highlighted the lack of representation in imagery and written descriptions of disease signs for people with dark skin tone. This project will document the visual and written representation of skin diseases and presentation in medical textbooks and resources used by medical students in Aotearoa New Zealand. The project will include creating a list of textbooks and teaching materials (recommended websites, lecture slides etc) used to inform the students about dermatological conditions and other conditions diagnosed using skin appearance. Following this the types and frequencies of skin colours included in these resources will be noted. A report will then be completed from this analysis, which includes comparisons to the international literature on the inclusion of a variety of skin colours across teaching material.

Discourse analysis of case study inclusion in teaching resources

The inclusion of diversity (e.g. religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity) within case studies in medical teaching material is supported within the international literature but little is known about this area in the context of medical school education in Aotearoa. This project will undertake discourse analysis of the case studies (in the context of ethnicity) in the Medical School teaching materials. The student will undertake a literature review of case study representation across medical school teaching material. Case studies used within teaching materials in the Medical School will be collated. Discourse analysis will then be undertaken on the case studies included. A report will be completed OR alternative dissemination options could include workshopping case studies with lecturers.

10-12 week projects: summer studentships and TI projects

We have a number of potential mini projects suitable for a TI project, or summer studentship.

The projects are:

Deferrals from Medical School

There is currently limited evidence regarding Māori medical students deferring from medical school. This project could look at Māori medical students’ deferral reasons across one or both medical schools in Aotearoa. The project will be qualitative interviews of medical students who are currently deferred or have deferred in the past to determine whether deferral reasons are directly or indirectly linked to experiences of bullying, discrimination, harassment and racism.

Doctors leaving or taking a break from medicine

There is little known about Māori doctors who decide to leave or take a break from medicine. This project could look at Māori doctors’ reasons for doing this, through qualitative interviews, including whether or not this is linked directly or indirectly to experiences of bullying, discrimination, harassment and racism.

Timeline of medical schools

The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive timeline of any key milestones that have impacted Māori medical students and doctors since the establishment of medical training in Aotearoa. The timeline will consider aspects such as; policy changes at the medical schools and medical colleges, any broader university support systems (Māori specific and non-specific), legislation (e.g. discrimination policies, workplace health and safety), regulatory registration processes and any other relevant changes to curriculum that have implications for Māori medical students and doctors in Aotearoa.

E-based resources for Māori students

The designated support services offered by universities in Aotearoa have limited Māori-specific support people/organisations that Māori students can access. This project seeks to develop e-based resources to keep Māori students culturally safe within the University environment.

Report cards for medical schools

There is limited evidence regarding the anti-racist practices of medical schools and medical colleges in Aotearoa. Based on the ‘Racial Justice Report Card’, an initiative from the White Coats for Black Lives organisation, a set of criteria would be created and used for assessing and promoting anti-racist practices of medical schools and medical colleges in Aotearoa.

Please get in touch with the team to register your interest or find out more: [email protected]

Post-graduate research and support

If you’re interested in postgraduate research in the areas of Māori health, racism and inequities, and want to chat about topics get in touch with the research team