Apr 29, 2024, 10:45 AM
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Understanding the importance of adaptable systems, especially for conditions that are often overlooked or misdiagnosed, emphasises the need for a healthcare system that values understanding, navigability and transparency in equal measure. It is a powerful reminder of the responsibility healthcare professionals have to all their patients, not just those with common or well-understood conditions. - Gavin Bishop, winning entry.

During Rare Disorders Month we ran an essay competition for medical and nursing students to encourage students to engage with and learn about rare disorders.

The task was based around RDNZ's Voice of Rare Disorders Survey results from 2023, which were outlined in our white papers, launched on 28 February at parliament. 

Three cash prizes were up for grabs, and we were thrilled to receive 27 entries in total from a variety of medical students at both Otago and Auckland Medical Schools through all years, as well as nursing students.

We were blown away by many of the entries, with the top three shining through due to their out-of-the-box insights on rare disorders – just the kind of thinking required to grasp the complexities of rare.

You can view the top three entries here – congratulations to Gavin, Alexandra and Jackie for your outstanding perspectives.

We are excited for what your futures hold and the contributions you can make to improving care for those affected by rare disorders.


Gavin Bishop, 5th year medical student, University of Otago. View essay here.

Runners up

Alexandra Anderson, Final year nursing student at Manukau Institute of Technology. View essay here.

Jackie Hazelhurst, 5th year Medical Student, University of Otago, currently taking a year out of medicine to complete a BMedSc(Hons) in the department of Medicine with Professor Suetonia Green as their primary supervisor. They are conducting a clinical quality audit, comparing ethnicity collected in two datasets (ANZDATA and the NMDS). View essay here.

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