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NZ Hosting Top International Health Event

Media Release

1 September 2003

New Zealand hosting top international health event this week

New Zealand's health system is in the international spotlight this week as a prestigious health event takes place in Auckland, says the Ministry of Health.

A record almost 1000 people are expected to attend the three-day 3rd Asia Pacific Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care when it opens at the Aotea Centre on Wednesday.

Involving two of the world's top health organisations, the British Medical Journal publishing group and United States' Institute for Healthcare Improvement, with the Ministry of Health, ACC and Standards New Zealand, it is the first time a health event of this calibre has been held in New Zealand, said Ministry spokeswoman Gillian Bohm.

"We're delighted the latest issue of the British Medical Journal highlights New Zealand as a world leader in its commitment to improving the health of indigenous people," said Ms Bohm.

The forum features a raft of international experts aiming to inspire health care practitioners to make improvements in their work and to give them the practical skills to do so.

A key theme of the conference is the importance of equity as a measure of quality.

"This is a new and exciting area for many people working to improve quality because in the past we've often been more concerned about technical safety and effectiveness than access to services and equity.

"The failure of health and disability services to reach Maori as effectively as non-Maori is a quality issue," said Ms Bohm.

A fresh approach to improving quality in New Zealand's health system will also be launched at the forum's opening on Wednesday morning.

Key speakers at the forum include:

Professor Mason Durie, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Massey University;

Dr John Oldham, general practitioner and head of Britain's National Primary Care Development Team;

Professor Rod Jackson, professor of epidemiology and head of the division of community health, Auckland University;

Professor Helen Bevan, director of redesign for the National Health Service Modernisation Agency (England);

Dr Donald Berwick, president and chief executive for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (USA).


More information is available:

Plenary sessions from the forum will be web streamed from the Ministry of Health website For MSIE windows media plugin users: (best branding) For Netscape users and those using a Windows Media Player directly:

To see the latest issue of the British Medical Journal go to

For further information about the forum see

For more information about quality improvement in New Zealand see

Biographies of main speakers

Donald Berwick

Donald M. Berwick is the United States' leading authority on health care quality and improvement issues. He is president, CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also clinical professor of paediatrics and health care policy at the Harvard Medical School.

Trained as a paediatrician, Dr Berwick has served on the staff of Children's Hospital in Boston since 1976. In the mid-1980's, as Vice President for Quality-of-Care Measurement at the Harvard Community Health Plan, Dr Berwick became increasingly interested in applying and adapting for medical care the approaches to breakthrough quality improvement developed in industry since the middle of last century.

From 1987 to 1991, Dr Berwick was co-founder and co-principal investigator of the National Demonstration Project on Quality Improvement in Health Care (NDP). Building on the progress that had been made at NDP, he and his colleagues founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as a freestanding, nonprofit organisation in 1991.

John Oldham

Dr John Oldham qualified at Manchester Medical School in 1978. He worked in various teaching hospitals, culminating as a GP trainer in inner city Manchester. He was involved in setting up a GP Trainee forum in northwest England. The Manor House Surgery, where he is a senior partner, has won several awards for quality:

John has acted as adviser in the National Health Service and Department of Health Primary Care Division.

In 1992, he gained an MBA. His dissertation was on Continuous Quality Improvement in Primary Health Care. His work at The Manor House Surgery led to him being asked to present a paper to the 1st European Forum on quality improvement in health care, and subsequent invitations to the United States and Sweden.

In 1997, Dr Oldham worked on a national project group with the Institute of Health care Improvement in Boston looking at redesigning surgery systems in the US.

In 2000 he received the OBE for services to patients, and became a visiting Professor to Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

Maureen Bisognano

Maureen is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston, Massachusetts. Ms Bisognano's career has been dedicated to improving health care. Prior to joining IHI, she was Senior Vice President of The Juran Institute, where she supported the implementation of total quality management concepts in health care settings. Earlier in her career, she implemented a comprehensive hospital-based quality improvement programme while serving as CEO of Massachusetts Respiratory Hospital in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Ms Bisognano received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the State of New York, and a Master of Science degree from Boston University. She has written articles on medical leadership and has helped scores of health care leaders and organisations improve performance.

Brent C. James

Dr Brent James is the Executive Director at the Institute For Health Care Delivery Research. He is also the Vice President, Medical Research and Continuing Medical Education.

Dr James is Intermountain Health Care's Vice President for Medical Research and Executive Director of its Institute for Health Care Delivery Research. He leads Intermountain Health Care's clinical improvement efforts.

Dr James received an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a Master of Statistics degree, and an M.D. degree from the University of Utah, with subsequent training in general surgery from that institution. He serves on the Institute of Medicine's National Roundtable on Healthcare Quality and it's Committee on Quality of Healthcare in America.

Dr James is a member of the National Quality Forum's Strategic Framework Board, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the National Patient Safety Foundation. He serves on a number of other boards for not-for-profit health care institutions with missions directed at measuring and improving the quality and availability of health care services.

Helen Bevan

Helen Bevan is Director of Redesign for the National Health Service (NHS) Modernisation Agency in England. She is a national leader of the NHS improvement movement.

Her core role is to identify emerging directions and approaches to improvement and test their applicability in the NHS. The aim is to keep NHS improvement thinking fresh, relevant, making an impact and at the leading edge.

Ms Bevan is a visiting professor at De Montfort University. Current research interests are enabling a culture of innovation in health care organisations, and what the NHS can learn from mass movements in its quest to build a national improvement movement. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's New Years Honours list in 2001 for services to health care.

Paul E. Plsek

Paul Plsek is an internationally recognised consultant on improvement and innovation for today's complex organisations.

Before starting his own firm, he was director of corporate quality planning at AT&T. The developer of the concept of DirectedCreativity™, his work can be described as "helping organisations think better."

Paul is an independent consultant, the Chair for Innovation at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, and an active investigator in research projects with the Harvard School of Public Health and the Vermont-Oxford Neonatal Network.

Papaarangi Reid

Dr Papaarangi Reid is a specialist in public health medicine. She is the director of the Eru PÃmare Mäori Health Research Centre at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Dr Reid's research interests include the analysis and monitoring of disparities between Mäori and non-Mäori citizens of Aotearoa/New Zealand, the construction of ethnicity and indigeneity in the social determinants of health, and the options for progressing equity.

Viliami Tau Tangi

Dr Tangi did his undergraduate medical training at the Fiji School of Medicine under a Tongan and WHO Scholarship, graduating in December 1972. He then worked for the next six years in various hospitals in Tonga and New Zealand. In November 1983 Dr Tangi gained FRACS, becoming the first Tongan to pass the Fellowship examination in any clinical training scheme.

In 1985 he returned to Tonga to be in charge of surgery. From 1989 until 1991 Dr Tangi lectured in Paediatric surgery at the University of Newcastle, Australia while undertaking more training in that field.

He was Senior General Surgeon in Griffith, NSW, Australia, from 1996 to 1999. He was appointed Minister of Health in Tonga in March 1999.

Colin Tukuitonga

Dr Colin Tukuitonga graduated from the Fiji School of Medicine/University and completed a Master of Public Health from the University of Sydney. He is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners.

As well as being the Director of Public Health for New Zealand's Ministry of Health, Colin is the Medical Officer of Health for New Zealand. He represents New Zealand at WHO and other international meetings.

Mason Durie

Professor Mason Durie is from the Rangitane, Ngäti Kauwhata, and Ngäti Raukawa tribes. He graduated in medicine from the University of Otago, Dunedin, before completing specialist training in Psychiatry at McGill University, Montreal.

He was Director of Psychiatry at Palmerston North Hospital, and Commissioner on the Royal Commission on Social Policy from 1986 until 1988.

Professor Durie was then appointed to the chair in Mäori Studies at Massey University and is currently Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Mäori) and Professor of Mäori Research and Development at Massey University.

He has served on many community and statutory health organisations including the National Health Committee (Chair), Mental Health Foundation, Alcohol Advisory Council and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mäori Health.

Professor Durie's academic and research interests cover Mäori health, education, policy and workforce development.

Rod Jackson

Rod Jackson is Professor of Epidemiology and Head of the Division of Community Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.

He is also the director of EPIQ, which undertakes teaching, research and consultancies in Evidence-based Practice (EP), health Informatics (I) and Quality improvement (Q), for health services.

Rod is medically trained, has a PhD in Epidemiology and is a member of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.


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