Sarah Majeed is an oral health therapist who works in the community oral health service, which offers free dental care for children. Last week Sarah received the Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Excellence for the mahi she did to rebuild the relationship with Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Nga Mokopuna in Seatoun. For many years Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley’s relationship with the kura was poor, and we weren’t able to visit them. That made it difficult for whānau (who come from all around the region to send their tamariki to the kura) to get their tamariki into our hubs, and it was also tough on the staff at Miramar who saw a very high need among the tamariki of the kura.
Sarah took it on herself to visit the kura and build a new relationship with them. Much of this she did in her own time. From this relationship, she built trust with the kura, and then worked with the kura to develop ways that we could visit the kura and work within their tikanga and the ways that work for them.
Sarah speaks on her experience as an oral health therapist and receiving the award:
“I was fortunate to have a very positive experience at the dental clinic growing up. My own experiences with a dental therapist inspired me to create the same positive environment for other children. I chose a career in healthcare to contribute to others’ wellbeing and prevent health issues from happening in the first place. Working in the community oral health service is a very special job. We are not only working with tamariki to provide a free and essential service, but we are also meeting and working with their whanau to ensure we are delivering suitable and meaningful care. As well as this, it is of upmost importance that we are striving for accessible and equitable oral health care.”
“My favourite part of the job is the whakawhanaungatanga with the families we see in the community. I think this is an essential part of our role to make the dental clinic an approachable place for patients, and for us to appropriately plan care for our patients, that will suit their overall needs best.”
“Outside of work I am currently working on my Master of Public Health thesis. My research is focussed on the oral health therapist workforce in the public service. I also love catching up with my friends and family regularly, and getting outside for a walk in the fresh air.”
“When I found out I was receiving the award I felt truly honoured. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari kē he toa takitini: My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, it was not individual success but the success of a collective. Working with my colleagues in the dental hub, the senior leadership team, and the kaimahi at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna has been central to our goal to provide equitable oral health services for tamariki in our region.”
“It was such a great privilege to be acknowledged alongside all the other incredible recipients, who like many public servants, work from their heart to make a positive impact.”