GP passionate about youth health recognised with highest College award 

25 July 2022

Dr Sean Hanna, a Wellington-based general practitioner has been awarded Distinguished Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.  

For more than two decades, Dr Hanna has worked as a specialist general practitioner in Takapūwāhia Porirua, a predominantly Ngāti Toa Rangatira community just north of Wellington. In 2003 he helped to establish Wellington’s Youth Service, Evolve, which is a Youth One Stop Shop (YOSS) delivering free primary healthcare and social support services to around 4,000 young people aged between 10 and 24-years-old in the Wellington region.  This year he has been involved in establishing another YOSS in Porirua (The 502, Rangatahi Ora) and for 20 years has held a weekly clinic at He Huarahi Tamariki, a school for teenage parents in Porirua. 

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “We know some young people put off seeking medical help for a variety of reasons – accessibility, cost or embarrassment. Having specific youth medical centres, such as Evolve, and dedicated health practitioners such as Dr Hanna providing the help, resources, and support that our rangitahi need, is a great way to build trust and encourage good health habits for them to carry throughout their lives.” 

Along with his work on the frontline of community medicine, Dr Hanna is an active contributor within the College, participating in the recent curriculum review to refresh the content that GP registrars learn on their journey to becoming specialist general practitioners.  He is the lead medical educator for the Wellington GP training programme.  

Dr Hanna demonstrates a dedication to the wider general practice workforce by also sitting on committees for the University of Otago, the Medical Council of New Zealand, and his local Primary Health Organisation (PHO).  For nine years he was one of the GP representatives on Pharmac’s Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) and chaired four of their subcommittees. 

Dr Hanna is bilingual in English and Te Reo and is a passionate advocate for equity in healthcare.   

Distinguished Fellowship is awarded to GPs who have demonstrated sustained contributions to general practice, medicine, or the health and wellbeing of the community. This year, five GPs and one rural hospital doctor received this award.