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Interprofessional Roopu - a student initiative for better understanding

Tauira (students) in the various health disciplines at the University of Otago get together. They're aiming to understand and respect all the professions they'll encounter during their careers.

The roopuFor as long as I’ve been a student down here at Otago, there have been talks about getting Māori health professional students working alongside each other towards common health goals. Although each professional programme has its own group of students, there was no structured group for students from different programmes to sit down and get to know each other. So a group of willing students (Anne-Marie, Tihema, Brendon, Kennedy, Merryn, Maia, Jessie-Ana and I) got together and formed a committee to start the Maori Interprofessional Roopu. (The photo shows, clockwise from top left: Brendon, Kennedy, Tihema, Merryn and Nathan.)

This is the first year that it’s been running, and events have a regular turnout of 30+ students across medicine, physiotherapy, dentistry, oral health, pharmacy and medical laboratory science.

The key objectives for the Roopu were to:

  • educate the other professional students on what each profession did and what they have to offer patients.
  • mix the students up so that they interacted with students they didn’t know.
  • hold events for students run by students, outside of an educational environment.

The group focuses on monthly events, with each one run by a different health science division. Otago University’s Maori Health Workforce Development Unit hugely supports the group, providing any necessary funding and the venue in which to hold the events.

Our hope is that through the group, students will have a greater understanding and respect for each of the professions they will encounter throughout their careers and that, once graduated and working, they may already know someone who they can talk to or discuss things with that they trust.

Nathan Clarricoats MPNZ (Assoc)

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