Tayla Gray

'This degree will be one of the best decisions you ever make...'

  • Tayla Gray

Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Education

National Health Educator, Endometriosis New Zealand

As part of the charity organisation Endometriosis New Zealand, Tayla’s career puts her on the forefront of women’s health awareness and education.

Tayla’s role covers a large variety of tasks; from an advisory service for women on endometriosis and the New Zealand health system, to coordinating the ‘me’ menstrual health and endometriosis programme in secondary schools, to running social media, and working with health professionals promoting awareness of endometriosis.

‘My job is never the same from one day to the next which keeps it exciting and interesting!’ she says.

‘Endometriosis is a very common disease however many people have never heard about it before. Teaching the ‘me’ programme I see young women all the time who are suffering with their periods and think it is normal. The ‘me’ programme helps give them the information they need to get help that they may not otherwise have got for many years.’

Tayla was UC’s first graduate of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc). After a year studying Psychology but wanting a different study direction, the launch of the new degree the following year gave Tayla the chance to pursue a career focused on health systems and policy in New Zealand.

‘The chance to study health in a setting that wasn’t clinical, the ability to work with individuals and the community to improve health outcomes and really make a difference, sounded exactly what I wanted, so I made the switch and haven’t looked back. It’s not a large class and everyone has the same interests and passion so you become like a family through the years studying, even the lecturers!

‘If you have a passion for helping people and communities and have an interest in health, you should go for it! This degree will be one of the best decisions you ever make, there are so many different paths you can follow within the BHSc allowing you to keep your options open and learn about so many different aspects of health.’

She was first interested in a career in the health sector after the ‘me’ programme was taught at her high school, which helped her realise her own symptoms and lead to a diagnosis in endometriosis. As such, majoring in Health Education gave a suitable background in promoting understanding of similar health issues that New Zealanders aren’t always aware of.

Later, Tayla completed an internship through her studies supporting the ‘me’ programme, which eventually lead to her current work.

She also completed another internship with the Alright? Wellbeing Campaign working on developing resources specific to Pacifica and Māori families.

‘Internships were great fun and a nice change from sitting in lectures. For anyone with the chance to participate in one, go for it and make the most of them! The experience working in the field is beyond what lectures and exams can teach you!

‘It allows you to put everything you have learnt into a real world context, it gives you an idea of what potential jobs will be like, it gives you the platform to make connections with people in the workforce, and as I was lucky enough to find out, it can also lead to job opportunities down the track!’

These experiences are what make the Health Sciences degree worth it according to Tayla, and she hopes that her career will continue to support the health and wellbeing of New Zealand in the future.

‘While I am still learning every day, the degree has given me the knowledge base I need to understand New Zealand and International health systems. As well as the gaining knowledge and skills, I also learnt a lot about myself and my strengths which has given me a lot of confidence and backing myself as a valuable member of the team.’

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