Casey Mansson (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Awa) completed the Hikitia te Ora – Certificate in Health Sciences to build a strong foundation before studying medicine.
"As I entered my high school years, I started to become aware that some ethnic groups had worse health outcomes than others and I wanted to understand why there was a disparate gap in life expectancy between Māori and Pacific people and our counter ethnicities in Aotearoa.
"This fuelled my drive to pursue a career in health as a doctor.
"My first step was getting accepted into the Certificate in Health Sciences (CertHSc). This was one of the best years for me in my educational journey.
It was the perfect programme for someone like me who wanted to be in a challenging university environment but wasn’t ready to take the huge leap into one of the pre-med courses (Health Sciences and Biomedical Science). The Cert programme is basically a microcosm of first year, where the courses we take are designed to teach foundational knowledge that we will need going into pre-med.
“One of my favourite courses in Cert was called Academic and Professional Development (APD). I enjoyed this course because it provided me the opportunity to learn the groundwork rules of university and how to manage my time professionally.
"After CertHSc, I entered the Bachelor of Health Science so I could apply for the medical programme and begin my journey toward becoming a doctor. This will allow me to one day I will be able to work closely with whānau in communities and reverse some of the disparities that I became awakened to in high school.
"Te Kupenga Hauora Māori and the MAPAS team here at the University have really supporting me through my journey. They have helped me realise my potential and have supported me through my degree, which I am very grateful for."