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APIA, Samoa (March 24, 2002 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---About 200 participated in ceremonies marking the opening of the Oceania University of Medicine (Samoa) last week, including the principal investor and chairperson, American businesswoman Taffy Gould.

Mrs. Gould pledged to the Samoan government her commitment to provide an "institution of high standard and integrity."

Samoa's Minister of Health Mulitalo Siafausa Vui called the school a "milestone not only in medical training but in tertiary education in the country."

Oceania University of Medicine plans to make extensive use of the Internet in carrying out its educational mission.

The school’s Dean is Dr. Ian Williams.

Local practitioner Leali'ifano Dr. Iopu Tanielu is Professor of Medicine.

Seven overseas students have already enrolled, with the basic annual student totaling AUD$ 27,000 (US$ 14,332), the school said.

Mrs. Gould also announced that the school would set up a foundation to reward doctors and other health personnel who develop innovative ideas to improve health care in Samoa.

The opening of the school, which targets international students, follows the failure of a similar but unconnected medical school venture in neighboring Niue.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

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