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Otago International students equipped to effect change

Friday 3 August 2018 1:32pm

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School of Pharmacy international undergraduate students, Wei Ying Yong (right) and Michelle (Pui Shih) Li (left).

Practitioners, service users, students, academics, managers, policy makers and researchers from across the globe will come together at the bi-annual ‘All Together Better Health IX’ (ATBH IX) conference in Auckland this September, in an effort to effect change in the healthcare profession.

School of Pharmacy international undergraduate students, Wei Ying Yong (23) and Michelle (Pui Shih) Li (21), received two of 12 $1,350.00 IPE Conference Student Sponsorships to attend this year’s conference, sponsored by the Division of Health Sciences Centre of Interprofessional Education (IPE Centre) and the Otago Medical School.

Both students transferred to the University of Otago’s Bachelor of Pharmacy programme, from the International Medical University (IMU) in Malaysia, and are School of Pharmacy Ambassadors.

When Wei Ying explained her incentive to attend the conference she said, “Each country has different healthcare systems and models.

Where I come from, Malaysia, we don’t have dispensing separation. Which means the doctors can prescribe and dispense at the same time.

It’s not like New Zealand, where pharmacists have more control over who gets certain drugs. So it’s safe compared to Malaysia.”

With a better understanding of different healthcare systems, Wei Ying hopes to inspire and encourage her peers in Malaysia who are currently working to reform their country’s healthcare.

Michelle agrees that a global perspective is important and studying abroad is a “good experience” for her to help become more confident and independent.

“I hope that by attending the conference, I will be able to improve and develop good leadership skills, teamwork and have a better understanding on common patient care goals and how interprofessional (care) is going to impact the social and cultural aspects of the patient.”

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“Don’t forget to mix with other people and try to understand the community better,” says Wei Ying Yong.

The social and cultural aspects of Otago are an ‘eye opener’ for the students who both show an interest in volunteer work.

“People here are more involved with the community and it is the cultural norm to volunteer,” says Wei Ying.

The Student Services Division and OUSA services have helped the students connect with the community through volunteer opportunities; something Wei Ying encourages international students to get involved with while studying at Otago.

“Don’t forget to mix with other people and try to understand the community better,” she says.

The University of Otago sponsorship to attend the ATBH IX conference is a welcomed platform for Wei Ying and Michelle that will enable them to mix with peers and professionals from around the world. Together attendees will explore and contribute to the overarching theme of ‘Transforming the Landscape of Healthcare’.

With sub-themes based around indigenous cultures, interprofessional care and education, and understanding different roles within the interprofessional healthcare team, these Otago students will be equipped with the tools necessary to lead, inspire and effect change in the healthcare profession.

Article written by Rewa Pene for the School of Pharmacy August 2018 Newsletter, V3I2