Susan Dargue
Arthritis Educator

Arthritis New Zealand is planning to extend its services for families who have children with arthritis, working with National Paediatric Rheumatology Services.

While the organisation has a well-established annual camp for children with arthritis and training weekend for teens aged 15 and over, there is the recognition that these groups require increased support.

“We are committing to increase our services and meet the challenge of providing professional and ongoing information, support and advice for families,” said Philip Kearney CEO of Arthritis New Zealand.

Such support may include providing regular updates on information about the management of arthritis in children, providing peer support for families who have had a child recently diagnosed, advocacy support for families and organising online parent support groups and education sessions.

“This will be undertaken in close partnership with the National Paediatric Rheumatology Services as we recognise that this team is key to reaching out to families – particularly those with a newly diagnosed child” explained Mr Kearney.

“As an organisation Arthritis New Zealand has a well-established track record providing high quality information, advice and support. We intend to provide an enhanced programme that utilises the experience and expertise of our Arthritis Educators and Volunteer Programme.

This move reflects the intent of Arthritis New Zealand to increase public awareness that arthritis affects all ages including children and young people.

Too often there is unspoken assumption from many that arthritis is a condition that affects only the elderly. We need to be clear that this is not the case” concluded Mr Kearney.

Susan Dargue, one of our Arthritis Educators, will be the Arthritis New Zealand contact person for families. Susan is a registered nurse with a background working in child health. She graduated with a post-graduate Dip Health Education “Adult Nursing” University College of St Martins, Cumbria, England and in New Zealand completed a one year Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Health Care Speciality Nursing at Whitireia Polytechnic. She has worked for Plunket in a variety of roles from Plunket nurse, relief clinical leader and latterly as a relieving Plunket nurse in Canterbury and Mid South/Canterbury since 2002.

She has also worked for Abbott nutrition, managing their nutrition category which covered paediatric and adult feeds both sip feeds and enteral feeding, and Nestle and Heinz Watties with their infant nutrition portfolios for a number of years.

“I have huge interest and enthusiasm for this role and I am really looking forward to working with parents and their children that have arthritis. I would love to hear from you.”

Susan can be contacted by calling 0800 663 463 or email


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