Men’s health scholarships awarded to nine Unitec students

Press Release – UNITEC
Nine Unitec students have been awarded Men’s Health Scholarships, provided by the New Zealand Men’s Health Trust (NZMHT) to promote men studying in the health sciences.

The students – from a variety of disciplines including nursing, osteopathy, and medical imaging – will each receive a $5,000 grant to help with their course fees.

The NZMHT is a not-for-profit organisation set up to promote positive change in the area of men’s health. Statistically, men have a lower life expectancy than women and research shows they will often delay going to the doctor until it is too late. There are also significantly fewer men than women going into health professions in New Zealand.

When the opportunity came to encourage and support more men into the health professions through targeted scholarships at Unitec, the not-for-profit organisation was keen to participate. “By supporting young men into health careers, we believe in the long term that it’s a very effective way of getting the message out there to men,” says Graeme Washer Medical Director of NZMHT. “We were incredibly impressed with the standard of people we interviewed – it was an incredibly difficult job to narrow it down to nine.”

Craig Hilton, Osteopathy Head of Department and Unitec Liaison for the awards, says the scholarships were about more than simply the best marks. “It was about the ability to be ambassadors; each of the scholars has a real opportunity to influence men in health. We’ll be trying to get together as often as we can, to engage with men and health issues, and hopefully to help these men continue to do that throughout their health provision years.”

For fifth year Osteopathy student Stephen Chesterfield, winning one of the 2012 scholarships has been the icing on the top of his recent academic achievement.

The Wellingtonian moved up to Auckland five years ago to pursue a new career, having decided to move on from personal training. “I wasn’t very academic at school, but I was a keen sportsman, so personal training had been a natural progression for me at the time. But when, in my late 20s, I looked around for the next step, I wanted to find something that would allow me to look at the body, and how to make it function better, and be pain free, that kind of thing.”

That’s when he decided he wanted to study Osteopathy at Unitec. Now in the final year of his Masters degree, Stephen has discovered that when he’s passionate about a topic, good grades are much easier to come by. “When Graeme rang, he said that there had been a really high level of candidates, and I thought, oh well, that’s me out. When he said that he’d like to offer me a scholarship I was really stoked, I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe it.”

Winning the scholarship has also given Stephen an interest in the field of men’s health. “From my previous experience in personal training, I used to see a lot of men with very imbalanced lives. They’d focus on their career and their family and forget about their own health. They would often have poor diets and poor exercise habits. I’d like to do more work in the field of men’s health; I think that would be a rewarding project for the future.”

Congratulations to the nine recipients of the 2012 Men’s Health Scholarships:

Philip Eyton, BScoP, Social Practice
James Boyd- Bell, BSocP, Social Practice
Keith Filo, BSocP, Social Practice
Shanon Coxall-Jones, BAppSc(HB), Osteopathy
Michael McLeod, MOst, Osteopathy
Stephen Chesterfield, MOst, Osteopathy
William LeLenoa, BN, Nursing
Mahesh Sharma, BN, Nursing
Naji Kanno, BHScMI, Medical Imaging

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