Share this post

Dr Therese Fish – Vice Dean of Clinical Services and Social Impact: Stellenbosch University – Delivering Partnerships

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Dr Therese Fish , who is the Vice Dean of Clinical Services and Social Impact in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Dr Fish reflects on some highlights from her career, in effect coming full circle, from training as a medical doctor herself to now being responsible for teaching upcoming generations of healthcare professionals.  She shares key aspects of her role, emphasising the development of partnerships between universities and the public health sector to strengthen social impact. By straddling the intersection between health and higher education and engaging different communities the university ensures it is of service to society.

Approximately 45% of the South African population lives in rural areas. It is therefore important that students are familiar with working in remote spaces and resource-constrained environments. Through successful partnerships in the Western and Northern Cape numerous training sites have been established in rural areas to accommodate students. By immersing students into these communities, they are able to attain a strong understanding of how people live in rural areas and potential impediments to treatment.

Reflecting on her leadership role, Dr Fish encourages diversity of thought and work practices in the environment. She notes that sometimes the same behaviours exhibited by men and women are interpreted differently by audiences because of gender biases, i.e. a male leader may be seen as assertive whereas a female leader is perceived to be aggressive. We discuss the importance of ensuring that women thrive, and this necessitates understanding the complexities of various societal roles women play and cultural demands placed on them. We consider the idea of changing systems to enable women to fulfil their professional and family roles. Dr Fish also advocates for leading beyond authority, a concept where everyone can lead in their own space irrespective of the position they hold.

In closing, Dr Fish reminds us that to succeed we cannot do things alone, we need to find our clan and nurture relationships. As someone who has actively driven institutional transformation, she states that you can change systems from within, by being present and being the change you want to see.

Tune in for more…

Download transcript

Type and hit enter