The 2019 NZMA Medical Student Representative election is underway.  As a fellow medical student, your vote counts!  Below are your candidates. Voting period closes at the end of Sunday 1 December.   For more details, email


Claire Whitehead

Throughout medical school I have seen the impact that we, as medical students, can make. I was not prepared to be part of such an influential group so early on in my career. Having advocacy and support starting at the student level is such a privilege. I would like to be able to support to future students to become well-rounded doctors.


I am interested to learn more about medical policy and governance. How we, as students and medical professionals, can affect change and advocate not only for ourselves, but also our patients. Finding a balance between policy and governance can be tricky, and I think that in this position I would be able to learn how to better balance the two in order to become a better advocate.


Having previously studied psychology, I advocate strongly for emotional well-being as well as physical, for both patients and professionals and I would bring a person centred perspective to the role. I will bring a willingness to learn, a solution focussed attitude and would relish being at the outset of changes to our health system.


I would value the opportunity to be the student representative of the NZMA, thank you for considering me.



Harry Di Somma

I have a strong commitment to equitable healthcare across three particular areas: women’s health and rights; the rights and treatment of sex, sexuality and gender diverse peoples (LGBTQI+); and indigenous rights.


The student representative position for the NZMA board is important because it gives us, as students, a seat at the table of the premier advocacy organisation for the medical profession. If I am elected, I will be a strong, informed and persuasive voice for students on the important legislative, advocacy and health workforce issues affecting our country.


Over the years, I believe I have developed the requisite skills and knowledge to be a valuable addition to the NZMA board. I was President of UoA’s Diversity in Practice, an organisation that worked alongside the University to advocate for LGBTQI+ communities. I have served as Secretary General and then Vice President Internal of NZMSA, and through doing so, developed policy development, governance, organisational and administrative skills that are such important parts of being an effective board member.


Much of NZMA’s advocacy relates to submitting on legislation. I have submitted to two parliamentary Select Committees over the last year on health matters.


I believe I bring what is needed to represent you.



Karan Banker

Through this role, I want to advocate on issues that matter to you as students and ultimately as health professionals. Issues such as tuition fees, workforce availability and safer working hours. I am also passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of medical students and professionals. Particularly, I would like to tackle the issue of alcohol among students and work towards reducing its burden within our medical community. Alcohol is one of the biggest problems facing New Zealand today and it is significantly impacting our generation. However, it has not been adequately addressed and I hope to change that.

I also hope to carry on the good work done by NZMSA regarding bullying and harassment in clinical years and help ensure that every student feels respected and safe in such learning spaces. My time serving in the New Zealand Army has built-in me skills such as persistence, communication and strong leadership, all of which are crucial for this position and for invoking change.

Ultimately, through this role, I want to hear YOUR stories and bring YOUR voice to the NZMA board. It would be an absolute honour to receive your vote and represent YOU at the highest level.