Deborah Bush honoured as NEXT Magazine’s “Woman of the year”

November 2012

Deborah Bush has been chosen among 30 finalists by NEXT Magazine as this year’s “woman of the year in health and science” in New Zealand.

Deborah Bush, QSM*

Deborah Bush, a former teacher, is the chief executive of Endometriosis New Zealand – an organisation she co-founded 25 years ago.  She is also an ambassador to the World Endometriosis Society.

For those who have been fortunate enough to work with Deborah, this recognition should come as no surprise.

She has been an ardent advocate for the estimated 126,000 women with endometriosis in New Zealand, and is recognised as having developed the first menstrual health and endometriosis programme (“me“) schools.  She also runs her own private practice coaching and consulting in endometriosis and pelvic pain.

Deborah is a previous recipient of the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM), the Paul Newman Unsung Hero Award, and the International Women’s Day Outstanding Service Award.

Like many advocates in endometriosis it was Deborah’s firsthand experience of all of the challenges associated with the disease that led her to become a campaigner for change in this area of women’s healthcare. What has set her apart from some is that she has never wavered from her cause despite the personal challenges she has faced.

In her 20s she was involved in a car crash that put her off work for two years due to spinal injuries.  Both the ENZ offices and Deborah’s home are in Christchurch – a town which has sustained substantial damage following two major earth quakes and thousands of ongoing after shocks over the past 2 years – yet she has persevered.

Like many women with endometriosis I have met with the obstacles of not being believed, not being properly diagnosed, and my condition being mismanaged,

said Bush, who is a fighter!   Like most endometriosis support organisations around the world ENZ engages in the constant quest for funding.  And, when things look grim, Deborah Bush likes to quote Ernest Rutherford: “We haven’t the money, so we’ve got to think“, and continues:

I think there is so much more work to do. I don’t understand why a disease that affects millions of girls and women, which doesn’t discriminate in age or cultural background, and which causes a high human and fiscal burden, is allowed to go under the radar.

The judging panel consisting of Dame Lesley Max, Martin Snedden, and NEXT editor Sarah Henry praised Bush’s forward thinking:

Deborah is a pioneer, a visionary, a highly effective, entrepreneurial layperson in a specialist medical world, bringing relief from disability and pain to thousands of women.

We couldn’t agree more.  Congratulations, Deborah, on this well-earned recognition!


*Picture courtesy of NEXT Magazine

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