South Taranaki Rural Health welcomes new rural hospital medicine specialist

16 January 2024

South Taranaki Rural Health is thrilled to welcome new medical officer Dr Brittney Macdonald.

Brittney, who has special interest in rural hospital medicine, has moved to Taranaki from Asheville in North Carolina, which is tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

While Brittney was initially attracted by the opportunity to practise rural medicine, once she learnt about the mountain to surf lifestyle in Taranaki, she quickly convinced her husband Matt that this was the place for them.

The avid trail runners and mountain bikers picked up sticks and moved to Taranaki with their beloved German Shorthaired Pointers, Scout and Ranger.

On just their second day in Aotearoa they tramped up to the Pouakai Tarn on Mt Taranaki and have already completed their first New Zealand trail running race in Arrowtown, says Brittney.

“We love having the Taranaki Maunga and the moana so close. In the States, you often have to choose either mountains or ocean because they are so far away from each other. But here you get the best of both. Matt has even started surfing in the past two months, which has been exciting for him,” says Brittney.

Brittney’s career to date is impressive. She played collegiate soccer at the University of Miami in Florida, graduating with a biology major in 2010 before returning home to attend the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine. Graduating in 2016, Brittney then completed her residency in Family Medicine at the Mountain Area Health Education Centre (MAHEC) in Asheville, North Carolina. 

She then spent an additional year as a "Rural Health Fellow". This involved additional training with specialists to help Brittney hone skills that would be useful in practising at a hospital in rural North Carolina.
Te Whatu Ora Taranaki is delighted to have recruited a rural health specialist in Brittney, says Stephanie Besseling, service lead for South Taranaki Rural Health.

“Brittney brings with her a wealth of expertise and experience and a passion for rural medicine,” says Stephanie. “She is already proving to be great asset to our practice and to our South Taranaki community. We are very fortunate to have her.”

For Brittney, it’s all about the challenges and broader scope of practice that comes with rural medicine that she enjoys.

“Rural medicine is more testing due to limited resources, but at the same time it is very rewarding when you overcome that adversity and help patients achieve their desired health outcome,” says Brittney.

“I’m looking forward to navigating a new health care system while learning about the population health needs specific to Taranaki. I am eager to learn and hopefully, as a result, will make a positive impact in our community.”

Last updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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