PMA Scholarships 2023 recipient, Dr William May: Sir Terepai Tuamure Maoate International Study Award
Updates / Community, 30 Jan 24
Dr William May was the recipient of the Pasifika Medical Association's Sir Terepai Tuamure Maoate International Study Award for 2023. Hailing from the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji, Dr May's journey reflects a commitment to social accountability and equity in medical education.

"I represent the island of Vanua Levu in the province of Cakaudrove, tikina of Tunuloa, my village is located on the coast of Fiji’s biggest Bay—the Natewa Bay," Dr May proudly declares, emphasizing his connection to his Fijian roots. 

Driven by a vision for a socially accountable method of selecting medical students, Dr May plans to pursue a Ph.D. through James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He challenges the prevailing cognitive-based selection methods prevalent in South Pacific medical schools, advocating for a system that goes beyond grades.  

His mission is to provide opportunities for the minority, rural, and socioeconomically disadvantaged members of the community, thus changing the landscape of medical education and healthcare access. 

 "As leaders, we need to make a difference in the lives of others. Selecting a small proportion of students among the many hundreds of applicants to become future doctors is a competitive process.” 

His aspirations extend beyond personal achievements, focusing on transforming the lives of those who lack access to medical education, potentially altering the destinies of generations. 

Reflecting on the scholarship named after a respected Pacific leader, Dr May expresses gratitude for the recognition of his work.

"I am very delighted and thankful to be a recipient of this scholarship, and my gratitude to those who saw value in the work I am doing and the potential for future work and development that I can do in the Pacific for our people.” 

Family, particularly his wife and two sons, serves as Dr May's primary motivation. Their sacrifices have paved the way for his success. He also recognizes the students and staff as instrumental in reminding him of his purpose within the institution. Driven by a commitment to good leadership, he acknowledges the importance of administration in the context of small island countries. Dr May's aspirations extend beyond individual success.

"My aspiration is to facilitate the achievement and maintenance of good health and well-being among Pacific people so that they achieve their full potential in life through the education and training of the current and future Pacific health workforce.” 

His goals include leading and developing health professional education in the region, ultimately becoming a global model for health professional education in low-resource settings. 

In the words of Dr William May, the path to a healthier Pacific and a robust health education system is paved with dedication, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to serving the needs of the community.