New clinical director for the National Screening Unit

Jane O’Hallahan Clinical Director - NSU
Jane O’Hallahan brings a wealth of relevant experience to her new role.
For Dr Jane O’Hallahan, accepting a role as the new Clinical Director of the National Screening Unit (NSU) feels a lot like coming home.

“I’m reconnecting with people I used to work with in previous roles and it feels very welcoming,” she says. “There’s a lot of expertise in the health sector and I’m very fortunate to be working with a team of people who are committed to providing an effective screening programme in New Zealand.”

Jane O’Hallahan took up her new position in mid-January and has been familiarising herself with the work programme and the range of screening expertise within the NSU and wider sector.

She brings to the role a wealth of relevant experience, including leadership of the Ministry of Health’s successful Meningococcal B (MeNZB) immunisation programme, expertise in communicable and non-communicable diseases, management of the Wellington region’s cervical screening programme when it was first established, and broad networks within health, government agencies and non-government organisations. 

She says the MeNZB immunisation programme shares many of the same features as the work she is doing now.  With MeNZB, she led development of the vaccination strategy through its policy stages, approval and funding processes, clinical trials, implementation and communication.  The main difference is the MeNZB programme had a definite beginning and end, whereas the NSU work is long-term and therefore requires a different strategy.

“It’s about reinvigorating and sustaining the screening programme over time, really embedding it into the way things are done in the sector and making sure the right people are involved,” she says.

“Cancer screening programmes in New Zealand have been successful in reducing mortality and closing some of the gaps in quality.  There have been some real leaders through the National Screening Unit, so I’m building on that history and coming into the team at a good time.”

Jane O’Hallahan says her priorities include looking at further reducing inequalities, refining the programme’s strategic direction, working collaboratively with clinical leaders and helping resolve issues that arise.

“Screening is part of an integrated health system and benefits from people working together in partnership, and that will be a real priority for me.”

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Page last updated: 27 February 2013