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Two women standing on the left in Kiribati, another woman on the right in a garden

Crissy Sanders, second from the left, and Juliette Phillipson, on the right, have each won a William Georgetti Scholarship which will see the pair studying at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine later this year.

Two Otago graduates are thrilled they will be studying at a world-class university in London after winning William Georgetti Scholarships, announced this month.

Crissy Sanders (21), from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and Juliette Phillipson (27), from Ōtautahi Christchurch, are among nine 2024 Georgetti Scholarship recipients. The scholarship, now in its 81st year, is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious graduate awards, offering exceptional students the opportunity to pursue postgraduate study in New Zealand or overseas.

Juliette and Crissy have each received a $45,000 scholarship and both are set to study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, starting in September.

Crissy has a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Public Health from Otago and will be studying for her Master of Science in Public Health for Development. Her research focus will be on the vaping experiences of young people and the adoption of effective heath policy.

“It’s such a topical area of public health and it’s really interesting talking first-hand to young people.”

Juliette, who graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Otago, will undertake a Master of Science in Public Health. Her areas of interest include health inequity and reducing cultural health disparity in New Zealand.

“I believe that both the course itself and the entire experience will provide me with knowledge and skills to influence positive change in the healthcare system when I return to New Zealand.”

Four people standing in Kiribati

Making a difference… the ChildFund Kiribati nutrition team, with Crissy Sanders (third from left).

Crissy is currently working in Kiribati on a Volunteer Service Abroad posting, focusing on issues around nutrition and food security. She’s enjoying the hands-on experience of a very different country and culture.

She also travelled solo and did some grassroots volunteering in Kenya and Tanzania between her second and third years at Otago.

“I’m also very interested in global health and nutrition and take any opportunity I can to learn from different settings and experiences.”

A self-described “people person”, Crissy is really looking forward to studying in London.

“It will be great to meet heaps of people from different countries, with different work experience and backgrounds.”

Crissy says she is very thankful for the scholarship, without which her overseas study wouldn’t be possible. She was also grateful for the unwavering support of her family and mentors.

Juliette has been based in London for the past four months, working as a researcher for an Oxford-based company that delivers leadership development programmes to healthcare professionals across London. She will continue to work part-time in this research role while studying, saying the job has been a great opportunity to develop research skills and learn more about medical education.

A woman standing in a garden

Juliette Phillipson is making the most of her time in England, including a visit to Painswick in Gloucestershire.

Prior to moving to London, Juliette worked at Christchurch Hospital for three years, most recently as a plastic surgery registrar. Throughout her time at the Otago Medical School, and as a junior doctor, she had a keen interest in research.

“In my clinical work, I have been exposed to both the positive and negative aspects of our health system. One thing that has particularly stood out to me is the massive inequities in healthcare across our population.

“In New Zealand, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic location are all closely associated with access to healthcare, quality of care received and health outcomes. My active research project is investigating barriers to accessing outpatient clinics for Māori in Christchurch.

“I’m excited to learn more about public health, research skills and health systems throughout this course.”

Juliette says winning the scholarship was an “incredible privilege and an honour” and she was very grateful for the opportunity.

“Without the scholarship, my study wouldn’t have been financially possible. I am also extremely grateful to my clinical mentors at Christchurch Hospital for encouraging and supporting me.”

Crissy contacted Juliette after the scholarships were announced and they plan to meet up once their courses start and compare notes.

-  Kōrero by Andrea Jones, Team Leader, Divisional Communications

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