Dr Florina Chan Mow  - Embracing service and culture in healthcare

This year's theme for Samoa Language Week is 'Tautua i le alofa, manuia le lumana'i – Serve in love for a blessed future'.

Born and raised in Apia, Samoa, the value of service strongly resonates with Dr Florina Chan Mow, who started her journey at Counties in 1997, working in Paediatrics as a Paediatric MOSS (Medical Officer on Special Scale).

"I love building relationships and providing care for our tamaiti (children) and aiga (family who pass through our services). I love the work here, despite the challenges of providing equitable and accessible patient care."

Dr Florina is a proud product of two rich cultures: Samoan and Chinese. She credits her Catholic faith and humble, hardworking, and honest parents who instilled in her the values that shape her work as a doctor.

"They value ancestry and heritage, so it's not what I do as an individual that matters, it's what I do on behalf of my aiga to show alofa (love) and respect to those I serve as a doctor."


Dr Florina works in acute Paediatric Medicine (ward and in ED), does a Cardiology clinic, is involved with research at Kidz First, and supervises FRACP (Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Physicians) trainees and medical students.

"I also work with other Pacific Senior Medical Officers at Middlemore to support our Pacific students (Medicine) and new doctors working here."

"It's a humbling experience, a privilege to work as a doctor here. I have fantastic mentors in Paediatrics, such as Dame Dr Teuila Percival, who have supported me in my working career."

Before choosing a career in medicine, Florina had tried teaching. After schooling in Apia, she moved to Auckland to further her education. On scholarship, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Zoology and minoring in Biology.

"When I returned to Samoa, I had a short term of teaching Chemistry and Biology at a local high school, but I decided teaching was not for me."

Always interested in medicine from a young age, Florina decided to pivot and was fortunate to earn another scholarship at Fiji School of Medicine Suva, Fiji.

"I transferred to the University of Otago and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery."

When asked what you would share with a young Pacific person interested in health, her answer was this:"Never forget your roots, culture and values; these are unique to you and of significant value to your patients. Be proud of your achievements, but always with humility and respect."

E fofo e le alamea le alamea – The solutions for our issues lie within our own communities.

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