Doc­tor’s book spurs a stu­dent into medicine

Hamilton News - - COM­MU­NITY -

A book by one of the most in­flu­en­tial Ma¯ ori doc­tors in re­cent mem­ory helped an 18-year-old Hamil­ton stu­dent pur­sue a ca­reer that has been years in the mak­ing.

Joseph Gra­ham, of Nga¯ i Te Rangi, Nga¯ ti Rang­inui, Tainui and Nga¯ ti Manawa de­scent, is mid­way through his first year at the Univer­sity of Otago with sup­port from a Tu¯ Kahika Schol­ar­ship.

The schol­ar­ship — re­ferred to as TK — sup­ports Ma¯ ori stu­dents through a Foun­da­tion Year in Dunedin, pre­par­ing them for fur­ther study in Otago’s Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) course while guar­an­tee­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in a res­i­den­tial col­lege, and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for their tu­ition fees and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs. HSFY is a pre­req­ui­site for those go­ing on to study den­tistry, med­i­cal lab­o­ra­tory sci­ence, medicine, phar­macy, or phys­io­ther­apy at Otago.

Joseph says he has so far en­joyed set­tling into a new phase and has just fin­ished his first round of ex­am­i­na­tions. Adapt­ing to a new style of learn­ing has been some­thing he has em­braced.

“There’s no one on your case 24/7, so you’re by your­self — you’ve got to put in the work,” he says.

“I’m en­joy­ing it more this year be­cause I think I learn bet­ter that way, to find my drive.”

For most of his time at Hamil­ton Boys’ High School, Joseph was jug­gling be­tween be­com­ing a pi­lot, or mov­ing to­wards the med­i­cal field. Reading Dr Lance O’sullivan’s book, The Good Doc­tor, was the turn­ing point.

“That just re­ally in­spired me and drove me to try and go to univer­sity and do medicine.”

With his ca­reer path set, the next de­ci­sion was be­tween Otago and the Univer­sity of Auck­land. He spent a week in Dunedin as part of REACH, an ini­tia­tive aimed at help­ing prospec­tive stu­dents get a taste of the var­i­ous health sci­ence pro­grammes.

It didn’t take long for Joseph to fall in love with Otago, and he has been con­nect­ing with his 16 fel­low Tu¯ Kahika schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents in and out of the class­room.

For Ma¯ ori Health Work­force De­vel­op­ment Unit project man­ager Zoe Bris­towe, con­nect­ing with other peo­ple is a core com­po­nent of the Tu¯ Kahika pro­gramme.

“TK stu­dents are all very com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing Ma¯ ori health and well-be­ing and ac­tively sup­port one an­other to achieve their study and ca­reer goals,” Ms Bris­towe says.

“The stu­dents are now rep­re­sented across a range of health pro­fes­sional de­gree pro­grammes and in­creas­ingly in the health work­force.

“It’s a great prepa­ra­tion pro­gramme for young Ma¯ ori in­ter­ested in ca­reers in health.”

Joseph says a tree-plant­ing ex­er­cise with the Kati Huirapa com­mu­nity at Puketer­aki re­cently un­der­taken by the schol­ars was an im­por­tant el­e­ment to help­ing him feel like he was set­tling in Dunedin.

“That was re­ally good to do some com­mu­nity ac­tiv­ity. It was just sort-of like be­ing back at home.

“Tree plant­ing is some­thing we do quite of­ten back home, and do­ing it down here with other Ma¯ ori was just re­ally re­lax­ing and sooth­ing.”

Photo / Sup­plied

Hamil­ton Boys’ High School grad­u­ate Joseph Gra­ham is mid­way through his first year at the Univer­sity of Otago with sup­port from a Tu¯ Kahika Schol­ar­ship.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.