National Screening Advisory Committee

The National Screening Advisory Committee (NSAC) provides high level strategic governance and leadership related to national population based health and disability screening programmes. NSAC reports to the Ministry of Health's Chief Medical Officer and the Deputy Director-General, Population Health and Prevention.

Role of NSAC

The role of NSAC is to:

  • provide leadership and strategic direction for national population based screening programmes
  • make evidence based recommendations about the case for implementing new population screening programmes, including consideration of their effectiveness, feasibility, likely harms and benefits, value for money, and impact on the health system
  • identify screening technologies of proven effectiveness which require central agency led and well-managed implementation as national screening or quality improvement programmes
  • advise whether to continue, modify or withdraw existing population screening programmes, particularly those programmes inadequately evaluated or of doubtful effectiveness, quality, or value
  • consider and endorse major changes within current screening programmes as raised by NSU advisory groups
  • consult and liaise with clinical leaders and experts on screening to obtain sound advice, referring appropriate issues for further research and commissioning evidence based review as NSU resources allow
  • undertake a horizon scanning function to provide guidance on emerging and future technologies suitable for population screening programmes.

To find out more about NSAC read the committee's terms of reference (doc, 32 KB)


The Committee is multidisciplinary with members chosen for their linkages to other health or academic groups as well as their individual skills, for example, expertise in public health, screening programmes, epidemiology, ethics and health economics.

Current members

Dr Joanne Dixon (Chair) Retired clinical geneticist, Christchurch
Dr Jane O'Hallahan (Deputy Chair) Clinical Director, National Screening Unit, Ministry of Health
Dr Carol Atmore Head of Department, Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago
Dr Karen Bartholomew Clinical Director, Health Gain Team, Planning, Funding and Outcomes, Waitemata DHB and Auckland DHB
Professor Barry Borman Associate Director, Professor in Epidemiology, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University 
Pania Coote Director, AwhiMai Consultancy, Māori Health and Strategy
Professor Jackie Cumming Professor of Health Policy and Management, Health Service Research Centre, Faculty of Health, Victoria University of Wellington 
Professor Mark Elwood Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland
John Forman Consumer Representative, previously Chief Executive, New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders
Dr Gary Jackson Director of Population Health, Counties Manakau DHB
Astrid Koornneef Group Manager, National Screening Unit, Ministry of Health
Dr Caroline McElnay Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health
Professor John McMillan Bioethics Centre, Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago
Dr Pat Tuohy Community paediatrician, Hutt Valley DHB



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Page last updated: 19 December 2018