Samantha Menezes | Biggar Family Kupe Leadership Scholar

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health

I have been working as a registered nurse in emergency care for the past eighteen months. One of the lessons that has stood out for me is that ‘health’ is complex and multifactorial. I often joke with my colleagues that we are becoming ‘mice in a running wheel’ because we are working hard to diagnose and treat each patient so that we can send them home ‘healthy.’ When, in reality, there are actually a wide range of factors that have a bigger impact on their health (access to regular GP visits, warm and dry housing and disposable income for prescribed medicines, to name a few) and we, as health professionals, have very little power to change these. I am well aware of the enormity and complexity of this challenge. I believe that a good place to start is to continue to learn about our health, social and political systems from our current leaders in this field. One day, I hope to learn to use my own voice as well as encourage other front-line health professionals to find theirs in order to create a happier and healthier Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Sponsor: Biggar Family Trust

Mentor: Dr Innes Asher, ONZM, Professor of Paediatrics at University of Auckland and specialist paediatrician at Auckland’s Starship Hospital, Chair of the Global Asthma Network and member of the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group