Mini Blog: 2 minutes with... Dr Paul Vroegop

Mini Blog: 2 minutes with... Dr Paul Vroegop

15 March 2014

I for one had real trouble choosing which of the concurrent sessions I most wanted to attend.  If you have selected Concurrent Session 3 on Saturday you can look forward to hearing from Dr Paul Vroegop on the disruption of family life that often happens when a young person is living with chronic pain.


1. What is your current role/job/position? 

Clinical Head of Youth Mental Health , (sometime) Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for the Kidz First Paediatric Consult Liaison Team, and consultant at the Chronic Pain Service, all in Counties-Manukau DHB, South Auckland.  I feel very lucky to work with really passionate, smart and  lovely people.

2. How did you get into working in Pain Management?  

It sounded interesting, so I had the good fortune to spend 6 months at TARPS (the Auckland Regional Pain Service) as a senior registrar, where I was inspired and mentored by Bob Large, a wise psychiatrist who set up and led TARPS.  When I went to Starship Children's Hospital Consult Liaison Team, my interest in chronic pain led me to working with Penny Palmer, Paediatrician and Child Psychiatrist, and the Starship Complex Pain Service, before moving to my current roles.  I also spent last year studying for my Fellowship in Pain Medicine exams...

3. If you weren't working in Pain Management what would you be doing?  

I'd be a stay at home dad to my two daughters, and doing a PhD exploring chronic pain in children and adolescents during the school day! And doing more fishing and mountain biking (and video gaming, if I'm honest...)

4. If you could invite any 3 people to have dinner, who would you choose and why?

That's a difficult one, but I'd have to choose whanau; specifically my grandfather (Gampy) whom I never knew as an adult, my Dalmatian great grandfather, and my Dutch great-grandmother.  And why? Well, as a psychiatrist I have a fantastic job; I'm honoured that people share their stories with me; and I would love the chance to hear the stories of my tupuna (ancestors) - they sound like amazing people, who lived challenging and interesting lives, and are part of who I am.

5. What is the most important advance you hope will be made in Pain in the next ten years?  

I honestly believe that education about pain for health professionals and the public could make the biggest difference to the lives and experiences of people living with pain.  Dr Linda Huggins (Palliative Care and Pain Physician) EPM (Essential Pain Management) teaching programme, which started last year in Auckland Medical School, is an example of this kind of approach; the Kidz First Pain Special Interest Group set up by my clinical psychologist colleague Dr Kathryn Russell is a more local example; another approach that I'd love to see is a pain version of the "Like Minds" mental health awareness campaign.