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Rae Lamb

2001-02 Harkness Fellow Specialist health correspondent Radio New Zealand

Harkness Project Title:  Hospital Disclosure Practice: Results of a National Survey

Mentors: Donald Berwick, M.D., and Troyen Brennan, M.D., J.D.

Placement: Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Harvard Medical School

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Rae Lamb, a 2001–02 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy, is the specialist health correspondent for Radio New Zealand. She has served as a journalist for 22 years reporting in newspapers, television, and radio. The majority of her career has been spent in covering politics and she is a former chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentary Press Gallery. Since joining Radio New Zealand in 1997 and specializing in health reporting, Lamb has won several national media awards including the 1999 Bill Toft Memorial Award for excellence in broadcasting and the Best Radio News Reporter Award, the 1999 and 2000 AIDS Foundation awards for documentaries on HIV/AIDS, and the best radio news and current affairs health stories for 2001. The only New Zealand journalist invited to join a 1998 Rockefeller Foundation trip to China and Thailand, Lamb examined sexual and reproductive health issues in both countries. In 2001 she covered a three-month inquiry into the under-reporting of abnormal cervical smears by a provincial pathologist, which also uncovered major problems in New Zealand’s national cervical screening program. In May 2002, she won awards for the best senior radio news journalist and best coverage of a breaking story at New Zealand’s annual national media awards, The Qantas Awards. The awards were for her live coverage of the events in New York on September 11, 2001.

Project: Lamb investigated hospital policies and practices regarding disclosing to patients all unanticipated outcomes of care – which recent Join Commission standards will soon mandate.  Her research team surveyed over 400 hospital risk managers about practices within their own hospitals, and the barriers that they have encountered in developing and implementing disclosure policies. 


Career Activity Since Fellowship

  • Aged Care Commissioner, Australian Department of Health and Ageing, Melbourne, 2011
  • Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner - Complaints Resolution, New Zealand Ministry of Health, 2005
  • Qantas Media Award Winner for coverage of September 11 attacks from Ground Zero, 2002

Current Position: Aged Care Commissioner, Australian Government (8/2014)


E-Mail: [email protected]

Selected Publications (including broadcasted interviews)

Lamb R. “Open Disclosure: The Only Approach to Medical Error,” Quality and Safety in Health Care 2004; 13(1):3-5.

Lamb R, Studdert DM, Bohmer RMJ, Berwick DM, Brennan TA. “Hospital Disclosure Practices: Results of a National Survey,” Health Affairs 2003; 22(2):73-83.

Lamb R, interviewed by Kim Hill “Efforts to Reduce Medical Error in the US,” Radio NZ February 4, 2002.

Lamb R, “Anthrax Fever – US Bioterrorism and Public Health” Cover article, The Listener  Wilson & Horton Publishers.  November 17, 2001.

Lamb R, “Report from Ground Zero” Cover article, The Listener Wilson & Horton Publishers.  September 29, 2001.

Lamb R, “The US Response to Bioterrorism” Interview on “Checkpoint,” Radio NZ. October 11, 2001.

Lamb R, “Anthrax and other Threats” Interview on “Morning Report,” Radio NZ, Late September, 2001.

Lamb R, “The Days after” Interviews on “Morning Report,” Radio NZ, September 12 & 13, 2001.

Lamb R, “Post-September 11” Interview live on “Kim Hill,” Radio NZ, Sept 12, 2001.

Lamb R, “9/11” Multiple broadcasts live from ground zero,” Radio NZ. September 11, 2001.