The Southern DHB and the University of Otago have a long history of co-operation and collaboration.

Dunedin was the site of the country's first Medical School, and medical undergraduate students have trained in Dunedin at Dunedin Hospital since the Founding of the Medical School in 1875.

Medical students from the Dunedin School of Medicine have spent time on rotation at Southland Hospital over the last 20 years, and students now spend time in rural hospitals and general practices throughout the region.

The University of Otago's Faculty of Medicine is the oldest in New Zealand and was founded in 1874. The Dunedin School of Medicine as part of the Faculty, provides research-based undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of international standard in medicine and related sciences.

The Division of Health Sciences is the largest Division in the University, and within very short distances from Dunedin Hospital, there are the Faculty of Dentistry (the only Dental School in New Zealand), Schools of Pharmacy and Physiotherapy and the Medical Laboratory Science Programme.

Across the road from Dunedin Hospital is the Otago School of Medical Sciences. All these Schools and programmes have some relationship with Southern DHB and are research intensive academic programmes of excellence.

Southern DHB and the Dunedin School of Medicine combine in employing staff to achieve the high standard of teaching and research.

Many DHB-employed staff are also engaged in research and teaching, and some staff have University or teaching appointments which helps generate a research and learning environment to support both training and the quality delivery of health care.

Southern DHB and the Dunedin School of Medicine have combined to establish Health Research South, which facilitates research by staff of both organisations. Its activities are underpinned by a joint research committee called the Research Advisory Group.

All Otago University Medical Students undertake their second and third years in Dunedin before choosing between the Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington campuses for their clinical training. 

Approximately 270 students are admitted into the medical course each year, and in total over 700 medical students can be studying in the region at any one time.

Many of the 80 students in each year of training in the Dunedin School of Medicine stay in the region for their post graduate experience, but people who have trained here go on to contribute nationally and internationally to healthcare, research and teaching.

The Dunedin School of Medicine with its seven departments - Preventive and Social Medicine, Pathology, General Practice and Rural Health, Women's and Children's Health, Surgical Sciences, Medicine and Psychological Medicine provides a full clinical curriculum for 4th, 5th and 6th year students.  

There are placements in Southland during the course for all DSM students, in medicine, surgery, psychiatry, paediatrics, obstetrics and general practice There is also an Associate Dean based at Southland Hospital to support students on placement.

The Dunedin School of Medicine also runs an active post-graduate programme with postgraduate courses in many disciplines and significant numbers of post-graduate research students. 

The successful collaboration of Southern DHB and the University of Otago has helped create a unique environment in the region, which over many years has produced internationally renowned research and well trained doctors.

Both organisations are committed to that collaboration growing into the future.