OUM’s Roots

Addressing the Global Physician Shortage

Addressing the Global Physician Shortage

Twenty years ago, OUM was founded in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, a country with a serious shortage of physicians, a situation which is today faced globally. Today students are required to complete a four-week elective rotation at Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) Hospital, OUM’s primary teaching facility.

Samoa’s Parliament established Oceania University of Medicine in 2002. Today, the University has evolved from a local mission to better meet the health needs of underserved island communities into an internationally accredited medical school with a global student body and alumni practicing in many countries.

Located south of the equator and just west of the International Dateline, Samoa is home to warm, friendly people with a rich Polynesian culture. Two-thirds of the country’s population lives on the largest island, Upolu, where the capital city of Apia, the business commercial center, and the main national port are located. All OUM students are required to complete at least one four-week elective clinical rotation in Samoa, most of which take place at Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) Hospital in the village of Motootua, an Apia suburb where student housing is within walking distance.

Flights into Samoa arrive from Sydney, Brisbane, Honolulu, Auckland, Fiji, Tonga, and American Samoa. Samoan immigration legislation requires that all international students hold a valid passport and student visa before entering the country.

The following websites provide helpful information regarding Samoa for both students and prospective students:

Samoa’s climate is tropical, with an average temperature in Apia of 81.5F (28.5C). Relative humidity is high; the average yearly rainfall is 114 inches (290 cm) and occurs during the wet season from November to April.

Dress in Samoa is light and casual. Local Samoan custom dictates that women wear clothing that extends to or below the knees. Short shorts, short skirts, tank tops, or other very casual dress are neither appropriate nor acceptable, except at the beach. Students coming to Samoa for their elective rotations are advised to bring their OUM scrubs, as this is the recommended dress code for medical students.

The following websites provide helpful information regarding Samoa for both students and prospective students: