Dr Jocelyn Tracey, Assistant Director early 1990s-1998

Jocelyn Tracey, 1977 

Dr Jocelyn Tracey became the first Assistant Director of the Goodfellow Unit in the early-1990s. Jocelyn Tracey was part of the sixth cohort of Auckland Medical School in 1973. She completed her medical training at the University of Auckland in November 1978 and worked as a house surgeon in Hamilton. She then spent eighteen months overseas and returned to New Zealand in 1985. She became involved in delivering postgraduate medical education in 1986 when she saw an advertisement for a tutor in general practice with the Waikato branch of the Postgraduate Medical Society. While ‘older, respected male GPs’ usually ran the courses, ‘nobody wanted to do it’. The position appealed to Jocelyn and a friend who were ‘sick of doing our own housework and we figured out if we took this job we could each pay someone to do our housework and have much more fun doing this job. And it worked out really well.’ They were both ‘young and keen and interested, and we knew what was fresh and new to arrange the education around’.1

Jocelyn became involved with the Goodfellow Unit in late-1987 when she approached Phil Barham to supervise her MSc in medical science. Barham was ‘already known as the guru of continuing education for GPs’, and her colleagues from Hamilton often travelled to Auckland to attend the courses ‘because they were so good’. Barham had also undertaken postgraduate study in medical education in Sydney, and she felt he was ‘one of the few people in New Zealand who had real academic knowledge of postgraduate education’.2

Dr Tracey completed her MSc in 1989 and worked part-time with the Goodfellow Unit and part-time as a GP in West Auckland. She hoped to become the Director of the Goodfellow Unit once Barham retired and decided to pursue a PhD to help her to secure this position. In 1997, she became the first person in New Zealand to gain her PhD in the Department of General Practice at the University of Auckland, in which the Goodfellow Unit was situated.3

Four of the first Goodfellow Unit staff. L-R: Dennis Kerins (Director of Educational Resource), Ina Hamilton (Secretary), Philip Barham (Director), and Jocelyn Tracey (Assistant Director)

Jocelyn had also become the Assistant Director of the Goodfellow Unit by the time she undertook her PhD. She was initially responsible for working with other GPs to develop two-hour evening courses, or full day weekend courses. With the financial growth of the Unit and the increasing popularity of the courses across the mid-1990s, she also became responsible for liaising with representatives in the Waikato and Northland regions to deliver continuing education to other GPs in these areas, and helping to establish postgraduate diplomas in community medicine, sports medicine, and geriatric medicine.

 Jocelyn facilitating a Goodfellow Unit short course and acting as an injured driver during a simulated car accident at the University of Auckland Open Day in 1996.

The flexibility and accommodation the Goodfellow Unit offered was especially important for Jocelyn and other staff members who were raising families:

If I had to come in for extra meetings, I just brought the kids with me. That was no problem. [Phil Barham] was really, really good with that kind of thing and really helped people. We couldn’t pay big wages because we were a university and so our idea was to try to make the job as family friendly as possible so there were other perks for people, which was great. And so you could choose your hours and do glide time as well. We had a number of solo parents working in the unit and we could adapt our hours to suit our family so it was really good.4

Jocelyn left the Goodfellow Unit in 1998. She remembered the foundational years of the Unit as ‘ground-breaking. I think it changed the nature of education for GPs throughout New Zealand and it was certainly a very exciting, cutting edge place to work’.  


Jocelyn Tracey (second from right) with other members of the Department of General Practice including Ofa Nai, Gregor Coster, Nikki Turner, Dennis Kerins, Phil Barham, Bruce Adlam, and Ross McCormick.

  1. 1. Interview with Jocelyn Tracey, 31 October 2018.
  2. 2. Ibid.
  3. 3. Jocelyn Tracey, The Effect of Reaccreditation on General Practice in New Zealand (PhD Thesis, University of Auckland, 1997).
  4. 4. Interview with Jocelyn Tracey.