Allied Health Assistants Conference 2015

Highlights of the Conference



"Working with others, working with technology, working differently"

PAPER is a symbol of knowledge.  It is also symbolic of a first anniversary.  In the South Island we are celebrating the first graduates of the Allied Health Assistant (AHA) training.  We also acknowledge assistants that have already trained and those with many years of experience and hope that our conference will offer new knowledge, networking and sharing of experiences and ideas for all assistants and health professionals.

THE LANDSCAPE is the river Avon, in Christchurch. Our challenge in healthcare and into the future is not "seeking new landscapes but having new eyes". Allied Health Assistants have provided support to health professionals, and patients and their families/whanau for decades, however now is the time to sit and reflect with the changes in health care as to how we can further support AHAs.

Our hope for this conference was to further enhance our AHA workforce to become a more sustainable resource, to work more flexibly and efficiently; thereby ensuring we continue to provide our services in better, sooner, more convenient ways.

The themes of this conference were "WORKING WITH OTHERS, WORKING WITH TECHNOLOGY, WORKING DIFFERENTLY", and were intended build on the recent progress in provision of training for the AHA workforce through presentations and practical workshops. The content of this conference was appropriate for AHAs supporting all of the AHS&T professions; who work with people and their families/whanau across hospital, community and home settings.



Michael Keown, an AHA at CDHB who has just completed his National Certificate for Health Assistants Level 3, says:

"As Allied Health Assistants we all need the time to learn something new; re-ignite the passion in what we do and to share and celebrate what we do really well".


Keynote speakers


Looking forward - Taking the next step: working with others, working with technology, working differently

Stella Ward, Executive Director Allied Health, Canterbury DHB and West Coast DHB 

Stella trained as a speech language therapist and has worked in the public health system, private practice, education and welfare.  Since moving to Allied Health leadership roles Stella has been involved in fostering excellence in clinical standards, research and innovation, quality and patient safety.  She established the role of Executive Director Allied Health for Canterbury and West Coast which she has held since May 2010.

As part of the Executive Management Teams of West Coast and Canterbury, Stella has a number of Executive Portfolios that include the Christchurch Health Precinct,; Health Innovation and Chair of the West Coast Clinical Board and the West Coast Alliance Leadership Team. She is also currently the Chair of the South Island Allied Health Group.


Empowering the Allied Health Assistant Workforce - From little things, BIG things grow

Lisa Somerville, Associate Director Allied Health, Alfred Health - Melbourne, Australia 

Lisa currently holds the position of Associate Director of Allied Health at Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia and is the Senior Program Advisor for the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM). The implementation of the VAWM has been collaboration between Monash Health, Alfred Health and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. The VAWM methodology evolved form  the Alfred Health AHA project which identifies and quantifies the work undertaken by allied health professionals that could be delegated to AHAs. Lisa was the project manager for the Alfred Allied Health Assistant project (2009-2011) and the project leader for developing the scope and education framework for a social work allied health assistant (2012).


Growing the allied health assistant workforce - The Victorian Story

Kathleen Philip, Chief Allied Health Advisor of Victoria, Department of Health - Victoria, Melbo urne, Australia


Kathleen was appointed to the newly created role of Chief Allied Health Advisor of Victoria in 2013. She continues in her role as the Manager, Health Workforce Innovation and Reform working closely with the Allied Health team, in the Health Workforce Unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria a position she has held since 2008.

Kathleen completed Master qualifications in Public Health and Health Economics and Health Policy in 2005, and joined the department in 2007. She is responsible for Victoria's new workforce reform implementation agenda (2012-16) as well as providing leadership and strategic direction to Victoria's allied health workforce policy.

Prior to joining the department she practiced as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist for over 20 years in the public and private sectors, becoming a Specialist Physiotherapist and Fellow of the College of Physiotherapy in 2007.



Looking forward

Gill Genet, General Manager Business Development, Careerforce


Gill is passionate about supporting the development of a valued, recognised, and qualified workforce.Alongside Health 

Workforce New Zealand, she has management reasonability for the Kaiawhina 5 and 20 year action plan and is also busy supporting the social services sector to develop a similar plan.

Emerging work includes what an integrated primary and community workforce would look like. Gill is also leading the development  of more efficient and effective training. Some of her recent initiatives include Skills Map and 40-10-50 training plans.


Conference Participants Feedback 


“Definitely had a feeling of camaraderie amongst AHAs and it was great to share our experiences”

“Loved hearing about our role…, and how we can expand that in the future”.



“Eye opener on how AHAs can advance their careers”

“Very good to see where my future is going in health.”

“Hoping our DHB will look at this information so we can move into wider scopes of practice”



OOops.....We noticed we made a little spelling mistake on the attendance certificates. Please contact us if you would like a new one and we will email it to you. Thank you and sorry! 


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