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New Mental Health Commission Chair Appointed

6 May 2002

Health Minister Annette King today announced the appointment of Jan Dowland as Chairperson of the Mental Health Commission.

Ms Dowland’s starting date has yet to be confirmed, but will be by August 2002. She will leave her current position as chief executive of IHC New Zealand Inc, which she has held since 1998.

Ms King said Ms Dowland had 26 years experience in the health sector, and comes to the Mental Health Commission with an understanding of human rights issues, workforce issues, funding and service configurations.

“Ms Dowland has a proven track record of achieving significant results in areas that require strategic thinking, executive management skills and a strong focus on the needs of consumers.

“She has shown through her work with IHC New Zealand Inc that she is aware of the importance of culturally appropriate services for Maori, Pacific people and all other communities in New Zealand. She is also aware of the need to tailor the service to meet the person rather than slotting people into the system. These are excellent attributes for the job.”

In 1997, Ms Dowland was selected for the senior management/CEO programme at Henley Management College in England. She has also been awarded the Martin Jarvie Underwood and Hall prize in accounting information systems.

Ms King said Ms Dowland would carry on the excellent work of former Chair Dr Barbara Disley, and thanked the acting Chair Bob Henare for leading the Commisson during the appointment process.

The Mental Health Commission was established in 1996 in response to the recommendations of the Mason Inquiry into Mental Health Services. In 1998 the Commission produced the Blueprint for Mental Health Services, which is now a policy document that guides the implementation of the national mental health strategy.

The Commission’s terms of reference are to monitor and facilitate implementation of the strategy, work to reduce discrimination against people with mental illness and address mental health workforce issues.


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