Clinical Director and rural health stalwart recognised with Distinguished Fellowship Award

Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network Clinical Director Rural Health Dr Jeremy Webber has been awarded Distinguished Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Division of Rural Hospital Medicine.

Dr Webber was grateful to receive this award for his commitment to rural medicine at the GP22 Conference in Christchurch on Saturday 23 July 2022.

“I am humbled to be recognised in this way, particularly as the work I do has strength only due to the mahi of my colleagues in rural practice. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.”

Dr Webber is a stalwart for rural health in both his role at Hauora Taiwhenua and as a rural medicine hospital specialist in Taupō Hospital, where he has worked since 2016.

His passion for rural life stems from his farming childhood where he grew up in the Manawatu and then Whangārei. He was inspired to pursue a career in rural health after working in a remote Aboriginal community in Western Australia where GPs ran the local hospital.

Dr Webber is dedicated to improving health equity which is reflected in his impact at Hauora Taiwhenua as Clinical Director Rural Health, representing rural general practice on many Ministry of Health taskforces and panels.

He contributed to the advocacy efforts with the team at Hauora Taiwhenua presenting at Select Committee hearing, which has resulted in the recent inclusion of Rural Communities as a priority population in the Pae Ora legislation and the development of a rural health strategy presented to Te Whatu Ora Health NZ as a basis for their planning for rural.

Dr Grant Davidson, Chief Executive of Hauora Taiwhenua says that one of Jeremy’s strengths is his ability to engage effectively with a diversity of people, irrespective of age, gender, culture, and status.

“His natural empathy and genuine concern for people leads to effective relationships being built which enables an ability to get great outcomes whether clinical or political,” Dr Davidson says.

As the first Rural Hospital Medicine graduate of the Division of Rural Hospital Medicine training programme, Dr Webber is enthusiastic about the education and training of rural medicine and growing a robust future rural health workforce.

This year, Dr Webber was the only rural hospital doctor to receive this award alongside five GPs including Dr Kiriana Bird, Dr Janine Bycroft, Dr Sean Hanna, Dr Lauren McGifford, and Dr Peter JS Moodie.

Distinguished Fellowship is awarded to GPs or Rural Hospital Doctors who have demonstrated sustained contributions to general practice, medicine, or the health and wellbeing of the community. It is one of the highest recognitions that can be given by the college.