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Programme team

Karen O’Keeffe – First, Do No Harm Clinical Leadkaren okeeffe head and shouldersweb

Karen is a healthcare professional with a passion to provide the highest standard of patient care possible.

She completed her nursing training in New Zealand and has extensive experience in critical care nursing and as a nurse manager both in New Zealand and overseas.

Her career includes an 11-year period in California.

Key initiatives Karen has been involved in include the physiological unstable patient project, pre-hospital thrombolysis and medication safety.

Over the last five years, she has developed a special interest in patient safety and quality improvements.

Based at Northland DHB, Karen has recently led a number of quality improvement and patient safety projects.

Karen was appointed to the First, Do No Harm Clinical Lead role in October, 2011.

Contact Karen


Peter Leong – First, Do No Harm Improvement SpecialistPeter-Leong-bio

Finding a way to make things work better has always been a passion for Peter, who specialised in quality improvement in Singapore before moving to New Zealand more than 13 years ago.

In Singapore, Peter worked as a human resources development manager and productivity manager. He also developed a series of creativity training programmes for the Singaporean civil service.

Since arriving in New Zealand, he has held positions at Telecom as a process improvement consultant and for Gen-I as a senior business analyst. More recently, Peter was a kaizen specialist with the Bank of New Zealand, responsible for enterprise-wide process improvement.

His natural love of quality improvement and the chance to be involved in changes that will save lives attracted him to his latest position with the First, Do No Harm patient safety campaign.

Peter is a firm believer in using statistics and data to understand a problem before developing a solution and then measuring improvements.

This is Peter’s first role in the healthcare sector and although he believes some tools may be more applicable to patient safety, he says many methodologies are standard throughout quality improvement.

Peter was appointed to the First, Do No Harm campaign team in June, 2012.

Contact Peter


Gael Panama - First, Do No Harm Communications SpecialistGael-Panama

Gael has extensive experience in communications and marketing, most recently as Marketing & Communications Manager at King’s College in Auckland.

She has also worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific and has a special interest in developing communication strategies using plain language that are easily understood across diverse cultures.

Gael considers that clear communication is the most effective way to develop strong working relationships and foster successful stakeholder partnerships.

Print publications, website development and digital media are communication channels that Gael has a particular interest in and she is looking forward to bringing this knowledge to the First, Do No Harm patient safety campaign.

Gael’s qualifications include a BBus (Management), NZDipBus and a DipMarketing.

Gael was appointed to the First, Do No Harm campaign team in July, 2013.

Contact Gael