Dr Ruth Barnett

I grew up in rural Otago and Southland. My parents were teachers and my sister and I moved with them fairly often in our childhood. I was lucky to grow up in the country and get a real feeling for what farming and small community life is like.

I went to high school in Gore in the 1970’s and ended up doing sciences as my teachers said this was where the jobs were. They were right. I ended up doing Medicine and I am fortunate to have found work that I love. I trained here in Dunedin and in the 1980’s worked at Palmerston North Hospital for two years while my husband was at Teachers College. I then worked as Paediatric Registrar at Waikato Hospital and did my Diploma in Child Health as well as my Diploma in Obstetrics there. After doing my initial training to be a GP in Hamilton we went to Britain in the early 1990s where I worked with older people and did my Diploma in Geriatric Medicine.

We came back to Dunedin in 1993 and I started work in General Practice at Port Chalmers. I was there for eight years before I accepted an invitation to work at Broadway. Leaving the close community of Port Chalmers for the more widespread community of Broadway was a big decision to make but I am pleased to be a part of the supportive Broadway family that has been part of many Dunedin families for several generations.

Teaching is in my blood. I started teaching second year medical students as part of the Healthcare in the Community course in 2008. I now have a permanent part time position as Professional Practice Fellow at the University of Otago. I teach second and third year students and help to support other tutors in their teaching. I find that what I learn from teaching helps me to be a better doctor for my patients, and what I learn from my patients helps me to be a better teacher.

I love being part of a community and have enjoyed the work I have done on school boards and on medical committees. I also enjoy being outside and feeling the ground under my feet. I love a good book and a good talk and I have a goal to complete a Bachelor of Arts one day.

It is for patients, their health, and the health of their families and communities that I continue to work as a doctor and a teacher.

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