Oceania University of Medicine

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Oceania University of Medicine
Oceania University of Medicine logo.
Established2002 (2002)
ChairmanTaffy Gould
ChancellorDr. Chris May
Vice-ChancellorDr. Viali Lameko

Oceania University of Medicine (OUM) is a Samoan-chartered medical school operated through a public-private partnership between the Government of Samoa and e-Medical Education, LLC, a Florida-based company. The OUM curriculum is divided into two phases: preclinical and clinical. The preclinical phase is offered via distance learning while the clinical phases offers hands-on learning in a clinical settings at regional teaching hospitals.

The medical school was founded in 2002 by philanthropist Taffy Gould, a handful of Australian doctors, and others to fill a void: a shortage of medical personnel in the South Pacific.

Due to Samoa's and the surrounding islands' remote location, an online curriculum with local physician mentors evolved. Aspiring physicians in other areas were experiencing similar barriers in pursuing a medical degree due to geographical isolation and/or personal commitments. Soon OUM began receiving applications from all over the world.


Oceania University of Medicine (OUM) operates under a charter executed by the Government of Independent Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), as an autonomous statutory corporation operating in partnership with the Samoan government, represented by the prime minister. Its authority derives from the Oceania University of Medicine Act, ratified by the Parliament of Samoa in January 2002. e-Medical Education, LLC, an international software and health science education company, operates OUM as part of the agreement.


The mission of Oceania University of Medicine is to produce physicians with the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes to improve the health of underserved communities in Oceania and beyond, via traditional and innovative instructional modalities to help individuals overcome distance, personal and professional barriers to realize their calling to the medical profession.

OUM students are required to complete at least one four-week clinical rotation at OUM's home in the South Pacific. Clerkships are available in the nation of Independent Samoa and the US territory of American Samoa.

Two-thirds of Independent Samoa’s population lives on the largest island, Upolu, which is where the capital, Apia, and national hospital are. The National Hospital is in the village of Motootua, a suburb of Apia. Student housing is in walking distance of the health complex.

American Samoa's capital, Pago Pago, is home to LBJ Tropical Medical Center which hosts OUM students from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

Recognition and accreditation[edit]

OUM is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools, a joint project of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). It is recognized by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

OUM was granted formal accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) in 2010, making OUM the only internationally accredited medical school in the South Pacific. In May 2015, PAASCU re-accredited OUM for a five-year period through 2020. PAASCU is one of 20 accrediting bodies recognized by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). NCFMEA identifies and vets accrediting bodies outside of the United States that use standards comparable to those used to accredit medical schools in the United States.


The OUM faculty reflects the diversity of the student body. Faculty from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States work collaboratively to deliver a common internationally applicable medical curriculum based largely on American and Australian medical education standards. There is considerable focus on the licensing standards and requirements for the countries where graduates intend to practice.

All faculty have earned MBBS, MD, PhD, and other terminal degrees in their fields. Faculty members teach classes and serve as academic advisors.

Student demographics[edit]

OUM’s flexible program appeals to a wide variety of students—from recent college graduates, to working professionals interested in changing careers, with the average age of 40.5 years and an age range of 24–62. The distance-learning component is attractive to those already in the medical field.

Much of OUM's student body is made up of nurse practitioners, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, physician assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, respiratory therapists, podiatrists, and other healthcare professionals. Approximately half OUM's students hold master's degrees and ten percent have earned a doctorate. The majority of OUM students live in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, but the student body represents more than 40 countries of origin.

OUM graduates are completing post-graduate internships, residencies or fellowships or working as practitioners in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, and many metropolitan areas of the United States.


The OUM MD program consists of a preclinical component, available online and lasting a total of 96 weeks, followed by 72 weeks of clinical rotations learning hands-on patient care in a teaching hospital.

The preclinical curriculum is delivered via e-learning technology, allowing students to participate in group discussions and interact with faculty in a virtual classroom setting. While students may access the preclinical modules remotely, the 72 weeks of clinical clerkships take place at teaching hospitals in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, the United States, and other countries with supplemental online lectures.

OUM's programs operate on a rolling admissions schedule that allows new students to enroll in January or July.

External links[edit]