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Trainee intern working for health equality

Monday 3 May 2021 10:37am

Sophie - Med School Image
Sophie Papali’i has a rich heritage which enables her to bring a range of cultural perspectives to the board.

Meet the newest student representative on the Otago Medical School Academic Board.

Sophie Papali’i, a trainee intern from Porirua, has a rich heritage which enables her to bring a range of cultural perspectives to the board. She is of Samoan, Māori and New Zealand European descent along with affiliations to Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi.

The dedicated student has an interest in governance and experience including service on the national Māori Advisory Committee for Arthritis New Zealand. Outside of Medicine Sophie is also a busy Mum to three sons aged 11, 8 and 5.

"After having children I really didn't think becoming a doctor was a possibility for me. My husband Fau knew it was a dream of mine so encouraged me to go for it. I was also motivated by the example of my incredible mum Tania who is my greatest role model in life. She became a lawyer after having us kids and although this was difficult she excelled in her studies. She did this while also being the best mum ever.”

"The tragic reality of ethnic health inequalities really hit home for me. I vowed to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to help other people's loved ones."