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Russell SimpsonRussell Simpson
Director of Allied Health
Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs

Russell Simpson says that without a doubt his Master of Health Sciences endorsed in Rehabilitation provided him with an edge to secure the position he is in today. “This qualification is professionally relevant, and because it is a clinical masters there is a direct benefit to patient’s using the principals learnt and applying these to practice,” he explains.

Despite having graduated in 2002, Russell is still very quick to talk about the experience of his study at the Rehabilitation Research and Teaching Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington.

One tangible benefit can be seen at Hutt Hospitals Rheumatology Unit. A result of the research undertaken by Russell and other colleagues from the Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit coupled with the advancements in pharmaceuticals, treatment models for rheumatoid arthritis patients have changed considerably with less inpatient stays.

Of the programme itself Russell has one word, it was brilliant. “The programme is flexible in its delivery. The staged approach is also a positive, as it means you can exit at different stages and receive a qualification from certificate through to master's level.” he says. “The yearly seminars where everyone gets together is definitely a strength of the course, not only for networking but also to hear from experts in the field.”

The staff from the Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit are extremely supportive, and it was Associate Professor Will Taylor, Head of Department, who encouraged Russell to begin his master's study and mentored him through to graduation. Russell still maintains contact with Will Taylor today.

Russell does note however, that there are challenges involved with this type of study, especially with time management, but he also stresses that it is achievable especially with the support that the Department provides.

“This programme helps you develop the skills to understand what research is and how it applies to, and benefits patients. It is professionally relevant, flexible, supportive and allows you to research an area of interest,” Russell adds.