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2019 Teaching Awards - SMO Shortlist

NZMA and NZMSA are looking for further examples of excellent teaching displayed by the shortlisted SMO finalists for the 2019 New Zealand Medical Teaching Awards.  

If you know of, or have worked with any of the below SMO shortlisted candidates and would like to provide information that is relevant and will assist the judging panel in their decision, please fill in the SMO New Zealand Medical Teaching Award finalist feedback form here.

Final judging for the 2019 New Zealand Medical Teaching Award will be undertaken by a panel of judges, including relevant experts, who will review all your feedback for the candidates and one winner will be selected for each of the RMO and SMO award categories.

Deadline for feedback: Midnight Sunday 22 March 2020

Dr Bronwyn Copeland

I am originally from Cape Town. I received my MBChB in 2001 from the University of Cape Town. I moved to NZ in 2004 where I started my psychiatry training- initially in Auckland and then finishing my training in Christchurch in 2009. I feel very blessed to have a supportive husband as well as two lovely, young daughters who keep my work life very much in balance with a busy home life. My time-consuming interest at present is open water marathon swimming, having just swum the length of lake Taupo and am scheduled for the Cook Strait in January.

I chose to be a doctor when I was about 4 years of age, where I was getting recurrent strep throat and had a tantrum every time I went to the doctor. I absolutely abhorred the doctor. I made the wise decision at the age of 4 to become a doctor so I would never have to go to one ever again. Over time, my decision to pursue a career in medicine stayed the same, but the reasons for this decision changed radically. As I matured, I really wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, to ease pain and suffering and to care for people in a kind and respectful way. Medicine fulfilled all those criteria and the specialty of psychiatry even more so. Not only is psychiatry a very interesting field, but it is also one of the fields where one needs to be wholistic and one needs to tackle issues from multiple angles. It is also the specialty where one really gets to know one’s patients and a specialty that no one is immune from. Yet, it is also the field that has so much stigma associated with it and this needs to change.

I have been a senior lecturer with the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland for the last few years. I am based at the Bay of Plenty Clinical school and together with 2 other colleagues we share the roles of teaching, supervising, supporting and assessing the students that rotate through Psychiatry. We have 5th year and 6th year students and we rotate them through the different clinics to try and give them a broad view of psychiatry. One of my goals for the students is that by the end of the run, they are able to perform a thorough psychiatric assessment and formulate a sound management plan for patients presenting with psychiatric problems. I also take the opportunity to discuss with the students how no one is immune from mental health issues and try to impart on them in an implicit way some of the useful psychological tools(that are used to treat patients ) that can actually be beneficial for one’sown mental health. I believe that this is an opportunity too good to be missed,in that if one can give skills to the medical students now, it can be a great way of preventing burn out later as a clinician.  I enjoy getting to know the students, trying to give them a thorough, yet succinct teaching session where they will come away remembering what I have taught them as well as relaying to them good frameworks from which to work when doing psychiatric assessments. I really enjoy seeing how they progress over their time with us in terms of knowledge,empathy and skills.

Dr Kyle Perrin

Originally from Whangarei, I graduated from Otago Medical School, Wellington and completed all my training here. I was interested in paediatrics as a student, but as a PGY1 I had two rotations with amazing general physicians that swayed me to adult medicine. At the end of my registrar training I completed a PhD, and was heading down the academic pathway. Although I was a senior lecturer at Otago University for awhile, I changed tack and took up hospital leadership roles first as clinical leader of general medicine, and currently as clinical director of innovation and training.

I love general medicine for its diversity and the uncertainty that comes from figuring out what is wrong with an undifferentiated patient. I never know what I am going to get on my next ward round. I also love working in teams. Not only my ward team of registrar, house officer and TI, but the broader teams of nursing, allied health and sub-specialties that we work with every day.

 Currently I am involved in teaching nurses, house officers, and registrars in medicine, anaesthetics and general practice. My main involvement with undergraduate teaching is the 5th year medicine block. I have been doing weekly bedside teaching sessions since I started as a consultant ten years ago, and it is still one of the highlights of my week. The satisfaction in those moments when I can explain something so it clicks for a student never goes away. I am also consistently humbled at the enthusiasm and generosity of the patients who agree to give their time to student teaching.

Dr Marta Kroo

I was born in Hungary and graduated from Semmelweis University of Medical Sciences. I completed combined internal and occupational medicine training before moving to the USA in 1985. I did additional training in the Middlesex Hospital Family Practice Residency in Middletown Connecticut, which is affiliated with University of Connecticut, and became a fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice. While establishing a family practice office in Cromwell, Connecticut, I concurrently taught medical students and residents at the Middlesex Hospital Family Residency Program.

In 2009, I decided to take a working sabbatical in NZ and became involved in teaching here as well. I have been the coordinator GP of the Tararua Centre of RMIP, University of Otago in Dannevirke for the past 8 years. I am also involved in teaching our local practice nurses, empowering them to gain expertise in areas of medicine to assure further improvement in the quality of care of our patients. In my free time I enjoy drawing, gardening and outdoor activities with my family and friends.

I was born in Hungary under the communist era-this personal history shaped my future as I learned early on to attend to and be sensitive to difference and diversity, characteristics that were stigmatized at the time. My family and I never became members of the Communist party, which further instilled in me sensitivity towards structures of marginalization and the power of hierarchies to silence alternative voices.

Nonetheless and perhaps because of this experience, I feel even more indebted to the people in my life who encouraged me to excel, reach up to the seemingly impossible, achieve my goals, and then give back and help others to do the same. For example, while attending nursing college, one of my math and science teachers encouraged me to go to medical school after graduation.  This path seemed to be an impossibility at the time, since we did not have the full curriculum in physics and biology and so I couldn’t take the classes that were required to pass the entry exam to medical school. Needless to say, my status as a woman and lack of membership in the Communist Party disadvantaged me even further. My math teacher taught me the importance of being open to gaps in one’s knowledge and then methodically filling them through constant study and reflection.  With his support and against all odds, I did get into the  prestigious Semmelweis University of Medicine in Budapest. My professors in Anatomy and Physics and later on in Internal Medicine were my role models, showing me the importance of positive, never failing support while teaching.

After working a few years in internal and occupational combined specialty, I left Hungary in 1985 with my family and moved to the USA. After I have successfully completed the required exams and Family Medicine Residency at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown CT, I  established my private practice. However the desire to contribute to the education of the next generation of doctors never left me, and I was invited back to be a teacher and preceptor in the program, which I enjoyed for many years. My practice was elected to be part of a nationwide pilot program called TransforMed, sponsored by the AAFP (American Association of Family Practice). The goal of this program was to educate physicians in strategies that would improve medical care. After moving to New Zealand in 2009, I soon became involved in teaching again as the GP coordinator for the Dannevirke RMIP.

I see this involvement as continuation of my work doing what I enjoy the most- learning, sharing that with others, encouraging students, and carrying the light that has been given to me by others along my teaching journey.

Dr Rowan French

I grew up on farms in Northland and the Waikato, and earned my holiday money shearing sheep and doing other farm things. Boarding school and then medical school in Auckland followed before House Officer years in Rotorua. Registrar training took me all around the country before finally landing back at Waikato 12 years ago, where I am now Clinical Unit Leader of Surgery. I’m a self confessed non-academic surgeon with an interest in mentoring and operative teaching.

Medicine wasn’t something I even considered right up to the last minute (I wanted to be a chemical engineer even though I didn’t really even know what they did!). I guess it was one of those “split second” decisions that worked (lots don’t of course), I can’t imagine being satisfied doing anything else in life.

Working with my trainees is a large part of what gets me to work in the morning, I guess you can see I get my dopamine hit from watching them progress and develop into surgeons- doing a procedure on their own for the first time, making a difficult call about withdrawing care for the first time... to that ultimate point when they can do something better than I can (more and more common these days). Anyway thanks for the nomination, I’m honoured.

Dr Tom Thomson

I was drawn to Medicine watching my father as a rural GP in the town of Methvenin Mid Canterbury. He enjoyed both the variety of the work and of the people he interacted with. By training initially in General Practice and then in General Medicine & Geriatrics I have been able to keep my practice broad and maintain that variety. Nowadays my interest is in developing better integrated systems across the health system. There is a huge satisfaction to be had from seeing people working together effectively. My contact with the students makes me think about the fundamentals of Medicine and why we do what we do. And there’s nothing like a tricky question from a student to remind us that we don’t know everything.They keep me grounded.