The Word KUPU #3 - Lisa McLennan

A conversation about mental health, AI, addiction, the importance of counseling and knowing one's legal rights, all in the context of Lisa's innovative work at Victoria University's UniVentures.


Kāore te kūmara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka
The kūmara doesn't speak of its own sweetness.

I have switched podcast hosts, so episode #3 of The Word is now available on Spotify - as many of you have requested.

In this episode Lisa and I go into depth about the mental health landscape in New Zealand, both from her experience of working in the field of addiction services as well our own personal experiences as recipients of said mental health services. We cover a wide variety of topics, from artificial intelligence in the field of psychiatry, to the benefits of counseling and knowing your legal rights in a public health context.

All of this in the context of her work as Impact Producer/Commercialisation Manager at Wellington UniVentures (part of Victoria University.)

Lisa is a researcher who has been practicing in the Health and Education sectors for over 15 years. As a registered educator and addiction practitioner, she began her career working alongside clients experiencing advanced dementia. This sparked an interest in the relationship between substance use and cognitive changes. Her experience includes speaking internationally on the impact of trauma on Rangatahi (younger generation,) as well as leading clinical and educational teams both nationally and regionally. With a special interest in ensuring the client remains at the center of practice, she supports the empowerment of Tangata Whaiora (people seeking health) to be designers in healthcare development.

Lisa is currently working with health and education researchers to support impact paths and undertake strategic development work for their work. She brings her history in Clinical Leadership, managing strategy, change and service design to her role. Lisa previously worked for Wellington Addictions and the Ministry of Social Development, before taking on her PhD in Health Sciences and Social Sciences.

Lisa coins a new phrase on the podcast - “social medicine” - which I think should be adopted into wider use. Check out her definition of it, nothing short of genius.

This episode was a real treat to record, fun, informative and very insightful. Lisa a brilliant guest and an amazing human being.

Have a listen and send us some feedback.

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Thank you very much.

Mauri Ora.

“It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.”

The legend himself, Jacques Yves Cousteau.

[Oh and here’s a cool photo of a jellyfish I snapped yesterday after swimming right into a pod of them head on.. didn’t really hurt, more itchy like a mosquito bite.]