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New appointment for the University of Otago in Tairāwhiti

New appointment for the University of Otago in Tairāwhiti

Dr Diana Kopua (nee Rangihuna) has been appointed to the new part-time role of Associate Dean, Tairāwhiti, by the University of Otago, Wellington. She will be providing support for all University of Otago students in the Tairāwhiti (Gisborne) region, including Wairoa.

“This new role is significant because Dr Kopua will be providing support for health professional students in Tairāwhiti from a variety of health disciplines and programmes, as well as making links within the community to foster various aspects of workforce development,” says Professor Sunny Collings, Dean and Head of Campus of the University of Otago, Wellington, which hosts the Tairāwhiti programme.

The role underlines the importance that the University of Otago places on supporting and developing health professionals from communities like Tairāwhiti and Wairoa, working in partnership with local providers and the community.

Dr Kopua began her career as a nurse working in mental health in the Porirua, Wellington region and then trained at the University of Otago in medicine, specialising in psychiatry. She is Head of the Psychiatry Department at Hauora Tairāwhiti.

In her new additional role, Dr Kopua will work alongside Dr Patrick McHugh, the Academic Leader of the already well-established Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Education (TIPE) programme.

This highly successful programme brings pre-registration students from different health disciplines together to learn with, from and about each other as they gain clinical experience in rural New Zealand.

Since 2012, over 300 final year dental, dietetic, medical, nursing, occupational therapy, oral health, physiotherapy and pharmacy students have participated in the TIPE programme. The students gain their experience working in the Tairāwhiti and Wairoa communities, particularly with Māori health service providers, and giving back from their experience through community project.

“The IPE programme provides wonderful opportunity for students of different disciplines to learn to work collaboratively in caring for patients. The programme also focuses on learning about rural health, chronic conditions management, and Hauora Māori,” says Professor Sue Pullon of UOW’s Primary Health Care & General Practice Department.

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