Bioethics and Health: positive beginnings bode well for an exciting future

Wednesday 16th November 2022

After gaining the go-ahead from senior leadership late last year, the new Bioethics and Health course rounds off a positive and enjoyable year on the very day the students write their final exam.

Poster 1 - Lucy Cowie
Poster 1 - Lucy Cowie

The months have flown by since our last update article with the boys and girls completing two more internals and the material for their final exam that focuses on an international health issue. 

A highlight of the past few weeks was the submission of the students' academic posters outlining a New Zealand health issue. Topics covered ranged from drug use among high school students, the risks of vaccination to the horrors of domestic violence in our society. Many of the posters (see below) were highly professional in design, confronting in content whilst simultaneously providing a useful overview of the current state of affairs with regard to the topic. 

Poster 2 - Sathmi Bambarawana — Image by: Craig Preston
Poster 3 - Theo Hannagan — Image by: Craig Preston

Most confronting of all, though, has been the material covered in term 3 on world poverty and the serious health implications economic deprivation has on individuals, their whānau and society at large. Topics included inadequate sanitation, the transmission of diseases such as cholera and HIV, lack of access to contraception, period poverty, and gender inequality. Of particular interest was the negative long-term effects of colonisation on the health of indigenous populations, and the challenge this presents to bring about equal access and equity in our health system.

Example of student readings  — Image by: Craig Preston

As we conclude this year, we'll let a few students have the final say about their experience of this class and the value they believe it offers to prospective students for 2023 and beyond. The course is for students going into Year 13 only.

"I loved taking Bioethics and Health! It has been so eye-opening to learn about why the things we take for granted (like easy access to medicine and health care) are so crucial and would be life-changing for billions worldwide as well as here in New Zealand. It makes me feel really lucky and empowers me to try to make a meaningful change one day. Dr P is such fun and makes an effort to know every one of his students, so I will really miss coming to this class everyday!" (Sophie Bowmar, Columba College Year 13 Student and Dux for 2022)

"Bioethics and Health was a course I was on the fence about taking last year but I am so glad I did. I was truly fascinated by how the ethical side of health plays such an important role in society and how significant gaining an understanding of how different cultures deal with health truly is. The class itself is a place where just about anything can be said either for a laugh or learning. Dr Preston was a huge help all year not only in teaching us the subject but helping to create a learning environment where each student felt accepted and included." (Finlay Tompkins, Year 13 JMC)

"Being a brand new course for the college, I was a little unsure what to expect signing up for Bioethics and Health. However, it has greatly expanded my perception of other cultures and the struggles many people around the world face daily, as well as realising the privileges we have in NZ. Whether or not you are planning on entering the medical or health field in the future, this course is highly beneficial both to hear others diverse views and to grow your own knowledge." (Timothy Bradfield, Year 13 JMC)

"Being in the first bioethics and health class has been a privilege. The classroom environment was welcoming and supportive of discussion and working with others. Throughout the year we have studied various topics about health-related issues and assessed them from a non-biased point of view which is where the problem stems from, what is being done about it now, and how these things can be improved. We were introduced to new ways of thinking, decision-making, and prompted to ask questions of morality within the topics. Dr P has been encouraging of open conversation without judgment and has built relationships with each student which not only adds to our learning experience but also to the overall enjoyment of the class. I have loved being a part of the class this year and can confidently say that it would be extremely enjoyable, as well as beneficial to anyone who decides to join in the future." (Jasmine Lobo, Year 13 Columba College)

If you would like further information on the course, or would like to sign up for 2023, please contact Dr. Craig Preston on Columba girls CAN ONLY sign up through Columba College; please contact Mrs Lauren Piebenga if you would like to apply:

Attached below is an up-to-date information sheet on the assessment standards we cover during the year.

Bioethics and Health Info Updated 2023
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