In this episode of Psych Matters, Dr Rees Tapsell, a Māori fellow of the RANZCP interviews Dr Rātahi Bell, a senior registrar in forensic specialty training about the specific challenges and opportunities that come with training as a Maori psychiatric registrar in New Zealand. They discuss the importance of dual competence (being able to walk equally in both the Māori and Psychiatric worlds) in working in New Zealand and the value that bringing an integrated approach can have in the assessment and management of a Māori patient within their whānau (family). They discuss important Māori concepts and processes and their value to the range of therapeutic tasks that a psychiatrist might face in dealing not only with Māori patients and whanau but with patients of all backgrounds. Equally they discuss the cultural demands and expectations that a Māori trainee can face and the additional supports that can make training more tolerable and successful.
Dr Rees Tapsell is of Māori, heralding from the Arawa canoe and of Ngāti Whakaue descent. He is the Executive Director of the Midland Regional Forensic Service and the Director of Clinical Services for the Waikato Mental Health and Addictions services at the Waikato District Health Board. He is a clinical lecturer with the department of psychological medicine at the Auckland School of Medicine. Dr Tapsell has served as a General Council member with the Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, as a board member on two HHSs/DHBs, on several small private companies and he served as a psychiatrist Deputy Member on the Mental Health Review Tribunal for 12 years. He has been involved in the development of a number of Māori specific approaches to the provision of mental health care to Māori in both general and forensic services and in both government and NGO settings. Dr Tapsell’s particular professional and research interests lie in the governance and leadership of health organisations, the epidemiology of mental disorders, Māori mental health service development, outcome measures in Māori mental health ‘mentally abnormal’ offenders and undergraduate and postgraduate education and training.
Dr Rātahi Bell is a Māori psychiatry trainee based in Waikato, New Zealand, and is of the Ngāti Maniapoto tribe descending from the Tainui waka (or canoe). He is a stage 3 trainee completing an advanced certificate in forensic psychiatry. Dr Bell is a current trainee representative on Te Kaunihera mo ngā kaupapa Hauora Hinengaro Māori, a constituent committee of the RANZCP informing policy and training through an equity lens.
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