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Prof Wilkinson, of the university's Christchurch School of Medicine, directs the university's overall MBChB medical education programme, and was commenting at a recent awards function in Dunedin for BMedSc (Hons) students.
Students who took a year out from their usual medical education - usually in fourth year - were adding a distinctive element to their CVs, which would also add to their attractiveness to future employers, he said.
Further strengthening New Zealand medical research was also needed to help address important health problems in New Zealand, including high rates of obesity and growing rates of adult-onset diabetes, Prof Wilkinson said in an interview.
Awards presented. - Otago Medical School Scholarship, $5000; Kara Hamilton, Nadine Houia-Ashwell, Jeffrey Huang, Rex Liao, Brooke Marsters, Ariel Pons, Emily Wood, Alexander Woolrych, Hannah Wright, Anthony Yee-Goh, Daniel Zhang; Phyllis Paykel Memorial Scholarship, $8500, Helen Cao, Mark Holdaway, the latter also awarded the A F J Mickle Scholarship, $600; Tassell Scholarship, $8000, Matthew Woodall; LF Hall Scholarship, $5000, Kushan Gandhi; James Renfrew White Scholarship, $5000, Nicholas Hall; Pathology Departmental Award, $10,000, Bryony Harrison.