About Us

He Ako Hiringa

At He Ako Hiringa our mission is to contribute to eliminating inequitable access to funded medicines. We want everyone to have a fair opportunity to receive the treatments that are best for them, so they can attain their full health potential.

To learn more about the drivers of medicine access equity read Achieving Medicine Access Equity in Aotearoa New Zealand: Towards a theory of change

INEQUITABLE access to medicine is a known contributor to poorer health outcomes.

We know that Māori are less likely to access funded medicines and Pacific peoples, rural populations, those with high socioeconomic deprivation and people from former refugee backgrounds may also be missing out.

CONDITIONS that are significantly amenable to treatment with medicines include diabetes, gout, asthma and CVD.

He Ako Hiringa will focus on these conditions and priority groups of people, providing primary care clinicians with evidence-informed educational materials centered around medicine access equity.

SYSTEM BARRIERS prevent some people from getting the care they need.

We aim to provide tools and resources that clinicians can use to break down these barriers. In doing this we will address the five drivers that have been identified as important in facilitating equitable access to medicines - availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and appropriateness.

Our People

The people who make up He Ako Hiringa include health sector experts, data scientists, equity advisors, clinical educators, clinical writers and subject matter experts. We all have a common drive to achieve equitable health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Equity Advisor

Professor Sue Crengle brings a depth of understanding of equity and hauora Māori to our team. As our equity advisor, Sue supports us to ensure that equity is embedded throughout the work of He Ako Hiringa. She has been supporting us in the development of frameworks, guidelines and templates, ensuring these support the goals of medicines access equity.

Sue is a Professor Hauora Māori in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago and a practising GP in Invercargill. Sue’s research focuses on health inequities, health services research and quality of care, and youth health.  

Sue was a recipient of a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy 1999-2000. As a researcher with over 25 years' experience and a focus on identifying where and how inequities occur, she brings a wealth of experience to He Ako Hiringa.

Expert Advisory Group

He Ako Hiringa also is guided by The Responsible Use of Pharmaceuticals in Primary Care Expert Advisory Group. This group is made up of key individuals, appointed for a period of two years, who have a strong understanding of medicines access equity and our priority populations.

Members of the Expert Advisory Group are: Dr Dougal Thorburn, Dr Emily Gill, Dr Jason Tuhoe, Dr Maryann Heather, Jo Hikaka, Brendan Duck, Sheenal Kumar, Taima Campbell and Marie-Lyne Bournival.

Brendan Duck

Brendan Duck is a pharmacist prescriber at Totara Health and population health clinical pharmacist at Health Hawke’s Bay. Brendan has wide-ranging experience across primary care practice and pharmacy. In 2011, Brendan joined the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board's pilot of Clinical Pharmacist Facilitators in General Practice. The pilot was successful, receiving recognition nationally for an integrated approach, medicine safety and equity of health outcomes.

Brendan has completed postgraduate studies in clinical pharmacy, primary healthcare and pharmacist prescribing. He has a strong interest in diabetes care and other long-term conditions, with a particular focus of working alongside Māori and Pacific peoples to help them achieve their health goals. 

Dougal Thorburn

Ko Tainui te waka, Ko Waikato me Tangata Tiriti ōku iwi. Ko Dougal Thorburn tōku ingoa. 

I’m a general practitioner with a strong interest in Māori public health. I completed my undergraduate (MBChB) and postgraduate (DPH, MPH) studies at Otago University. I’ve had a diverse work experience, including working as a research fellow in Māori health workforce development and recent past as clinical director for population health at Te Awakairangi Health Network. As a Wellington-based Fellow of the RNZCGP, for the past eight years I have worked as a GP serving communities in Porirua and Pomare, and am currently working at Mauri Ora, Student Health Services at Victoria University of Wellington. I look forward to supporting the sector to develop tools and resources to enhance the delivery of quality primary care services for people of Aotearoa.

Emily Gill

Dr Emily Gill is a senior lecturer at the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, and a rural GP in Te Kaha and Ōpōtiki.  Emily is the 2017-18 New Zealand Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow and has published peer-reviewed articles on the management of diabetes in aged-care facilities, cardiovascular disease risk assessments and care coordination in the community setting. Emily also contributes to research about clinical informatics and rural health. She has been nominated to this Expert Advisory Group by the Clinical Informatics Leadership Network (CiLN).

Of American descent, Emily (she/her/hers) was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and immigrated here permanently in 1996. He Tangata te Tiriti ahau.

Jason Tuhoe

Dr Jason Kohamutunga Tuhoe (Hauraki, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Pikiao) is a Māori general practitioner who has worked in both urban and rural settings. A graduate of the University of Auckland’s MAPAS scheme, Jason completed his postgraduate hospital attachments at Middlemore Hospital before entering the RNZCGP training programme in 2013. He became a Fellow of the RNZCGP in 2016. Jason has a passion for his whānau, Te Reo Māori, Māori health and community medicine.

Jo Hikaka

Jo Hikaka (Ngāruahine) is a pharmacist and health researcher living and working in Waitematā DHB. Jo has experience in older adult health, Māori health and health services research, and has worked in primary, secondary and aged residential care settings. She is a past president of Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puna Rongoa o Aotearoa - The Māori Pharmacists’ Association and is currently a Health Research Council clinical research training fellow undertaking her PhD at the University of Auckland. Her PhD examines equitable access to medicines and pharmacist services for older Māori.

Marie-Lyne Bournival

Marie-Lyne Bournival (BSc, PGDipHealthSc, MN) is a Nurse Practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in the areas of clinical research, practice nursing and global humanitarian relief. She has specialised in primary healthcare since 2003.

Marie-Lyne currently works as an NP Locum for a number of health practices, serves on the International Council of Nurses - Nurse Practitioner - Advanced Practice Nurse Network Core Steering Group, and serves as a reviewer of the Nurse Prescriber Guidelines. Marie-Lyne is also on the Nurse Practitioner New Zealand executive committee and the Nursing Council of New Zealand NP Assessment Panel and Competency Board. Marie-Lyne is a regular contributor to New Zealand Doctor/Rata Aotearoa, and during the initial New Zealand lockdown, was part of a COVID-19 CBAC team.

Maryann Heather

Dr Maryann Heather is a consultant general practitioner at Southseas clinic in Otara, South Auckland where she has worked the last 10 years. Maryann has a range of experience working in New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, American Samoa and China. Of Samoan descent, she is experienced in general medicine and emergency medicine but her main areas of interest are primary care, Pacific health and health equity. She is a GP teacher for the RNZCGP and also an emerging Pacific health researcher.

Dr Heather holds medical qualifications from the University of Otago and the University of Auckland, and is a Fellow of the RNZCGP (Pacific chapter) and an executive committee member for the college's Auckland faculty, Pacific General Practitioners Network. Dr Heather is also a senior lecturer in Pacific health at the School of Population Health, University of Auckland.

Sheenal Kumar

Sheenal Kumar works as a community pharmacist in West Auckland and is part of the Pacific Pharmacists’ Association executive committee. She gained her BPharm from the University of Auckland in 2008. Sheenal enjoys working in primary care, has great interest in equity and is very passionate about medicine management. 

Education - The Health Media Team

The He Ako Hiringa team at The Health Media are primarily focused on delivering educational material to clinicians with a focus on improving medicines access equity. Whether it is videos, podcasts or articles, He Ako Hiringa creates content that reduces the barriers patients face to accessing medicines. 

Anna Mickell

Director

Anna Mickell is a co-owner of The Health Media, a director of Matui and the relationship manager for He Ako Hiringa. She is a health sector expert with over 30 years of experience in medicine data and decision support sales, nursing, health publishing and pharmaceutical wholesaling. In addition to her management expertise, Anna has key skills in strategic planning, stakeholder and relationship management communication, advocacy and sales.  

anna@akohiringa.co.nz | 021 488 709

Andrea Copeland

Custom Education Lead

Andrea Copeland (BPharm, PGCertPhcy, PGDipPUBH (distinction)) is a registered pharmacist with more than 25 years’ experience working in the health sector. She has held clinical, regulatory, educational and quality improvement roles in DHBs, with the Ministry of Health, and in PHOs, respectively.

andrea@akohiringa.co.nz | 021 353 163

Tyler Brady

Service Delivery Manager

Tyler Brady is the service delivery manager for He Ako Hiringa. Tyler manages an in-house team of customer service representatives for ongoing support of the Matui portfolio platform and was integral to the build-phase of the He Ako Hiringa website.  

tyler@akohiringa.co.nz | 021 252 9968

Alice McRae

Clinical Writer

Alice McRae is the clinical writer for He Ako Hiringa, creating and sourcing the equity-focused educational content that is distributed to clinicians. Alice is committed to creating engaging content in a range of formats that is accessible to all. 

alice@akohiringa.co.nz | 027 305 4648

Data Reporting - The Airmed Team

Based in Dunedin, the Airmed team provides the data science behind the He Ako Hiringa content. With health researchers and data experts at the helm, Airmed uses the national health data sets to inform where the opportunities for targeted behaviour change exist.

Alesha Smith

Director

Dr Alesha Smith is a Matui and Airmed director and associate professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago. With over 15 years' experience as a health researcher and education consultant for multiple DHBs, PHOs and health organisations, Alesha has a unique skill set and specialises in bridging the gap between health and data.  

alesha@akohiringa.co.nz | 021 222 9711

Benoit Auvray

Director, Lead Data Scientist

Benoit Auvray is a statistics and data science expert with over 20 years’ experience in managing, analysing and reporting on large data sets. Benoit has experience in data science and predictive analytics using big data applied to a wide variety of areas. These include health, quantitative genetics and genomics, agricultural applications, education and many others.  

Greg Peyroux

Director, ICT Specialist

Greg Peyroux is an experienced ICT leader, manager and strategist having managed, designed and implemented a rich set of tools and systems across the spectrum of IT solutions.  Greg has over 15 years’ experience as a project, systems, security and people manager, including software development management, decision tools research, data management and information security.  Greg is a Cook Island Māori with ancestral links to Waikato iwi.

Noni Richards

Senior Consultant

Dr Noni Richards is a New Zealand registered pharmacist and a senior consultant with Airmed. Noni has experience and postgraduate qualifications in research and has worked as a contract researcher producing evidence-based articles for both health professionals and patients.  Noni has been involved in equity programmes and investigations involving big data sets.    

noni@akohiringa.co.nz | 027 228 9594

Lorena Račić

Senior Software Developer

Lorena Račić is a senior software developer at Airmed with previous experience in building scalable, resilient enterprise software products and supporting infrastructure. She is passionate about applying ethical principles in the software development process and building software that serves as a catalyst for positive change in local communities.

Michel de Lange

Senior Statistician

Michel de Lange is a statistician, software developer and economist. Originally from The Netherlands, Michel obtained his PhD in economics from the University of Amsterdam. He studied mathematics at Utrecht and at UCL. His main experience is in applying statistical models in a variety of settings, mostly in health sciences.

He Ako Hiringa - A product of Matui Ltd.

 Auckland-based health communication company The Health Media (publishers of New Zealand Doctor/Rata Aotearoa and Pharmacy Today/Kaitiaki Rongoā o te Wā) and Dunedin-based health data company Airmed created a joint venture called Matui Ltd. He Ako Hiringa is the programme resulting from Matui's partnership with PHARMAC to promote the responsible use of medicines in primary care.

Privacy Policy and Conditions for Use

He Ako Hiringa is intended for use by primary care health professionals. Use of the site implies acceptance of our Conditions for Use and Privacy Policy. He Ako Hiringa is not a consumer information or education service. Consumers should seek advice from a health professional or visit www.healthnavigator.co.nz.