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Australasia’s only Pacific island female vascular surgeon joins PMA Group Board

The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) is pleased to announce Dr Lupe Taumoepeau (FRACS) as the newest Board Director of the PMA Group Board. As New Zealand’s first female vascular surgeon and the only Pacific Island female vascular surgeon in Australasia, Dr Taumoepeau comes with an extensive background in leadership and a passion in developing the Pacific health workforce. Dr Taumoepeau previously served as a Board Director on the Pasifika Medical Association Membership (PMAM) Board.

Dr Taumoepeau graduated from the University of Auckland and spent four years at Waikato Hospital as a junior doctor; here she was motivated to become a vascular surgeon, recognizing the lack of female representation. She became the first female New Zealander accepted into the competitive five-year vascular training programme, which accepts only 11 doctors a year across Australasia.

Dr Taumoepeau currently practices as a vascular and transplant surgeon and says her purpose in pursuing a career in the field of medicine was her family.

“My why has always been my family. My grandfather was an eye surgeon in Tonga and my mother in particular emphasised the value of education. I think that in combination with wanting to help people in my community, I saw a career in medicine as a very practical application of that.”

Following her appointment to the PMAG Board, Dr Taumoepeau reflects on her journey with PMA.

“My exposure to PMA dates back to when I was a medical student where I attended a few of their networking events. I don’t think I had a real understanding of how big the organisation was and its reach and capability in terms of helping to support the pipeline of the Pacific health workforce.

“I grew a close relationship with Dr Kiki [PMAG President] and Debbie [PMAG CEO], and after I finished all my training, completed my specialist training, I was then approached to be part of the Membership board. I served on the board for three years and it has been an amazing experience of growth.”

Dr Taumoepeau says she is humbled to be joining the PMAG Board and looks forward to the opportunity.

“My aim is to bring some balance as a woman and as a younger director and perhaps bring a different perspective around the direction of the organisation and how we can harness and mobilize the youth.

“PMA already have many amazing interventions in place that mean people can join in at various stages of their careers. I think that’s something that’s really important to me because there aren’t many of us and it’s about trying to bring people together, so that’s how I think I can be impactful.”

PMA President, Dr Kiki Maoate ONZM, looks forward to Dr Taumoepeau offering her expertise and knowledge to the board.

“Dr Lupe has a great understanding of the work we do and the vision we’re trying to achieve as an organisation. She also brings the context of knowledge from her time serving on our Membership Board and we look forward to the ideas she will bring forth to the PMAG board.”

PMA CEO, Debbie Sorensen, says Dr Taumoepeau’s ambition as a leader will see her as an asset to the PMAG board.

“As the only Pacific female vascular surgeon in Australasia, Dr Lupe has broken barriers and is an inspiration to many who look to her journey as motivation. Dr Lupe has always supported the purpose of our work and her leadership and experience will bring a fresh perspective.”


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