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About the team

Dr Karyn O'Keeffe

Karyn is a Senior Lecturer at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre, School of Health Sciences at Massey University in Wellington. She has been working in the field of sleep and circadian physiology since 2001, when she started working at a Clinical Sleep Physiologist at WellSleep, University of Otago. She transitioned across to the Sleep/Wake Research Centre from 2006. Karyn has been co-investigator on a number of projects investigating treatment provision for sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, insomnia and narcolepsy. She developed a passion for fatigue risk management in healthcare professionals after working shift work as a Clinical Physiologist. Karyn also has a mum who is a nurse, who juggled family commitments around shift work.

Professor Emeritus Philippa Gander

Philippa is a Professor Emeritus at Massey University and was the former Centre Director at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre. She is internationally recognised for work on the physiological factors underlying fatigue-related performance impairment and for implementation of innovative fatigue risk management approaches. She served on the National Health and Safety Advisory Committee (NOHSAC) that provided independent advice to the Minister of Labour between 2003 and 2009. She has received numerous international awards for her work, and was elected to the Technology and Applied Sciences Section of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2009. Her interest in shift work comes initially from growing up with a father who was a shift worker. She has previously led surveys of New Zealand anaesthetists and junior doctors that examined how fatigue-related risks to doctors and patients can be reduced.

Professor Annette Huntington

Annette is Director of Registrant Quality at the Nursing Council of New Zealand and was formerly the Head of the School of Nursing at Massey University. She is actively involved in the development and implementation of national policies for nursing innovations and education, and is a former chair of the Nursing Council of NZ. She is a College of Nurses Aotearoa New Zealand Fellow and an Executive Member of the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery, Australia and New Zealand. In 2012, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to nursing research. Annette is the New Zealand Director of both the Nurses and Midwives e-Cohort Study, and the Graduate Nurses Study, in collaboration with Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Adjunct Associate Professor Léonie Walker

Léonie completed a PhD in immunology, after which she followed an academic university research career, and was then a Principle Scientific Officer in applied Immunology in a hospital setting. A career change led to a Masters in Health Science (health promotion) and direct project work on public health topics ranging from HIV to obesity and diabetes, and to NHS health research management. In early 2008, Léonie moved to New Zealand to take up the position of Principal Researcher with NZNO. She is also Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University Wellington, where she leads a varied, collaborative research programme. Two strands of the NZNO research programme (nurse health and workforce retention), both impacted on heavily by shift work as an inescapable reality for nurses, led to the collaborative development of this important project. Léonie is now Policy/Communications Advisor at the Public Health Association and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at Massey University.

Dr Jinny Willis

Jinny joined the NZNO as the Principal Researcher in April 2017. Following on from a PhD in Biochemistry, Jinny joined the Lipid and Diabetes Research Group based at Christchurch Hospital and for 25 years investigated diabetes and its complications, in both laboratory-based and clinical research. A major research interest has been type 1 diabetes, including the epidemiology, immunology and genetics of type 1 diabetes. Jinny co-ordinated the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet studies in New Zealand and is an executive member of the National Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes. In addition, she is a member of the National Heart Foundation Scientific Advisory Group. Other research interests include work undertaken by PhD students investigating the functional activity of HDL particles and the role of the gut microbiota in glucose tolerance.  Jinny welcomes the opportunity to contribute to a safer nursing workforce through this collaborative project on shift work and fatigue. 

Advisory Group

The current Advisory Group members are:

  • Belinda Bennett, Operations Manager, Surgery, Women & Children, Capital & Coast DHB.
  • Toni Dal Din, Director of Nursing, Mental Health, Addictions & Intellectual Disability Services, 3DHB.
  • Pamela Doole, Manager, Strategic Policy, Nursing Council of New Zealand.
  • Michele Halford, Executive Leader Nursing, Wairarapa DHB.
  • Lynley Mulrine, Industrial Services Lead Organiser, Southern Region, NZNO.
  • Shannon Lake, Te Rūnanga Auckland Representative; Registered Nurse, Counties Manukau DHB.
  • Monina Hernandez, President of the Filipino Nurses Association of New Zealand.
  • Trish Walton, After Hours Duty Nurse Manager, Southern DHB.
  • Sally Houliston, Nurse Consultant, Workforce Development, Hawkes Bay DHB.
  • Jeroen Douwes, Professor/Director, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University
  • Jill Dorrian, Associate Professor/Co-Director, Behaviour-Brain-Body Research Centre, University of South Australia
  • Valerie O’Keeffe, Research Fellow, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Australia


We would like to acknowledge the contribution of previous Advisory Group members. 

  • Andrea McCance, Previous Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Capital & Coast DHB
  • Denise Kivell, Previous Director of Nursing, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Lisa Skeet, Previous Director, Safe Staffing, Healthy Workplaces Unit, DHB Shared Services
  • Ted Harper, Previous Manager, Employee Health and Safety Service, Bay of Plenty DHB