From our new President, Helen Snell

Dear NZSSD member


I hope those of you who attended the Annual Scientific Meeting in Napier, and/or the study day, have now recovered.  As usual, it was a whirlwind, between networking, presenting our own work and listening to the high quality presentations by our invited international speakers, I’m sure we returned to work feeling motivated and inspired.   My thanks go to all involved in organizing, in particular the NZSSD organising committee – Rosemary Hall, Kirsten Coppell and Kate Smallman. 


As those attending the AGM know, I have taken on the presidency for a 3-year term.   Also, Michelle Downie has stepped down as Treasurer and Craig Jefferies has taken on this role.   Our thanks go to Brandon Orr-Walker and Michelle Downie, who dedicated many hours of voluntary work to these vital roles, and have placed the executive in excellent shape. 


As the first non-physician president, I would like to quickly outline my background and share with you my vision for the Society.


I am well-known to many of you having been a member of the Society since 1989 and a regular attendee of the ASM.  I registered as a nurse practitioner in 2003, gained my PhD in 2011 and am a strong advocate for advancing the practice of nurses and other disciplines involved in the care of people with diabetes.  I am currently the Nurse Leader of the Diabetes and Endocrinology Service at MidCentral District Health Board. Over the years, I have served on the Ministry of Health’s Diabetes Service Improvement Group, was the lead for the Health Workforce NZ Diabetes Service Workforce Review in 2011 and led the development of the Ministry of Health Quality Standards for Diabetes Care Toolkit. I was the primary author of the National Diabetes Nursing Knowledge and Skills Framework in 2009 and updated it in 2018 for the Aotearoa College of Diabetes Nurses (NZNO).  You will also be aware that I was project lead for the implementation of diabetes nurse prescribing on behalf of the NZSSD, and people with diabetes now have improved access to diabetes care and medicines from both primary and secondary care services throughout New Zealand.  Alongside my clinical practice and leadership activities, I am also Academic Supervisor for the Massey University Nurse Practitioner Training Programme and participate in assessments for nurses seeking registration as nurse practitioners with the Nursing Council of New Zealand. 


My vision for the Society is to be the pre-eminent advisory body for matters pertaining to diabetes care; to provide advocacy for equitable access to first rate diabetes care, medicines and technology; to continue to foster high quality research; and to support the diabetes workforce to be highly skilled and enabled to respond to the health needs of people with diabetes in Aotearoa New Zealand.


I am pleased to announce that the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in Wellington 6-8 May 2020 and the 2021 ASM will be held in Blenheim. 






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