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Helen Mason

2014–15 Harkness Fellow Chief Operating Officer Bay of Plenty District Health Board

Harkness Project Title: Improving End-of-Life Care: Policy and Strategies to Improve Advance Care Planning

Mentor: Donald Goldmann, M.D. (Institute for Healthcare Improvement)

Placement: Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Helen Mason, M.B.A., R.N., a 2014–15 New Zealand Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, is chief operating officer at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board. Mason has held various positions at the Health Board since 2002, including general manager for planning and funding. In that role, Mason was accountable for leading strategic planning and for purchasing a wide range of primary and secondary health care services. Prior to that, she was a decision support advisor for Pacific Health and a nurse manager at Tauranga Hospital. In 2013, Mason was part of a team awarded the Public Sector Excellence Award for Crown-Māori relationships from the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand. Her professional interests include advance care planning and vulnerable populations. Mason has held a number of roles nationally, including DHB Sponsor of the National Primary Health Care Organisation Performance Management Programme. Mason was involved in the development of the New Zealand Children’s Commissioner’s Child and Youth Health Compass. Mason earned an M.B.A. from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and a nursing degree from the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Addington Hospital, Durban, South Africa.

Project: Advance care planning is an approach to identifying patient preferences usually toward the end of life and is recognized as a key mechanism for achieving patient-centered decisions. The objective of Helen’s research is to identify policies and strategies that lead to more effective and systematic implementation of advance care planning. She will use a case study design to analyze four high-performing organizations that have achieved substantive implementation of advance care planning. Each case study will include a comprehensive review of the organization, site visits, and in-depth interviews with a range of clinical and managerial staff in each organization. A thematic analysis of each case study will be undertaken to identify the factors that support and inhibit successful implementation, as well as the systems that were built to support patient-centered decision-making related to advance care planning. The findings will identify effective policies and strategies for the systematic implementation of advance care planning, which can be applied in both New Zealand and the United States.

Career Activity since Fellowship: 

Current Position: General Manager Innovation and Special Projects, Bay of Plenty District Health Board (updated 04/2017)

Email: [email protected]