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Latika Samalia
Latika Samalia
A little bit of laughter inside an environment of mutual empathy, respect and kindness are the secret ingredients of a successful lecture.

It is a style of teaching that has won University of Otago anatomy lecturer Dr Latika Samalia the 2021 Prime Minister’s Supreme Award.

She is the seventh person from the university to win the top tertiary teaching award in the past 10 years.

The award comes on top of her sustained excellence award and the supporting Pacific learners endorsement announced last month.

Dr Samalia said receiving the supreme award came as a "huge shock" and the announcement left her shaking.

"I had no inkling that it was going to be me. All the other teachers were also so deserving.

"It is very humbling."

Dr Samalia is known for her humorous anecdotes, which act as a reset in what can be a daunting learning environment.

"The aim of being a teacher is to make sure that your students have learned something from you every day. It doesn't matter if they learn only one thing.

"You have to make the environment friendly and happy, and less daunting, yet respectable, then they will remember things.

"Otherwise, you're wasting your time."

Originally from Fiji, Dr Samalia trained as a doctor and worked as an obstetrician and gynaecologist before making the switch to teaching.

She now teaches up to 750 students in five papers across a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate clinical courses, passing on her knowledge of anatomical structures and clinical skills to future health professionals.


Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving person. Congratulations.

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