To build resilient children and young people today.
Kaumatuaship supports and guides Health Connections cultural competence and responsiveness.
Better outcomes are what we about.
To deliver child and youth specialty enhanced primary care services in non-health environments including education placements, Oranga Tamariki placements and temporary home placements.
Hope Family Openness Purpose Humour Health
Pat Mitchell, CEO
My nursing background has lent itself to serving children, young people, their families and communities for over 20 years and now as CEO of Health Connections – it feels like that career path was always to be destined to arrive here.
Working differently, knowing what we do today may need to change tomorrow is why my role as CEO is challenging, exciting, and keeps Health Connections at the forefront of delivering better outcomes for children and young people.
My passion for outcomes, exploring alternatives to the traditional and striving for change makes life interesting. In an ever changing healthcare landscape it is key for services to know that change is fundamental part of health care delivery and having the agility and flexibility to respond to what is needed is the driving force behind Health Connections and what I lead on.
I believe nurses are leaders, nurses are brave, nurses seek opportunities and achieve. I’m a proud nurse.
Maria Kekus, Clinical Director
Carol Scholes, Board Chair
Rawiri Wharemate, Kaumatua
Youth Health Specialist
Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Jessica ahau.
Jess graduated top of her class from Auckland University Nursing school in 2010 and has worked in primary health care for 9 years, in a General Practice setting. She is in her third year as a Nurse Practitioner in primary health and was one of the youngest in New Zealand to achieve Nurse Practitioner status in 2016. She was awarded Young Nurse of the Year from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation 2017. As the Youth Health Specialist at Health Connections Jess provides the clinical leadership to ensure all rangatahi have access to health often in non-health settings like schools and residential settings. Jess is an Intern Director for Health Connections building her governance skills to further improve outcomes for children and young people. She has spent time as an academic mentor within Massey Universities Nurse Practitioner Training Programme. Her passions within work include mental health, youth health and improving sexual health access and to this end she has completed the Mental Health Credentialing program 2017 and worked extensively in the area of youth health. Outside of work she enjoys returning home to Tauranga to spend time with whānau, her husband and dog, and being at the beach.
A Maori descendant of Ngati Kahungunu, Erin is the Practice Manager for Health Connections working to improve the outcomes of rangatahi in the Auckland area.
Born and raised in South Auckland, Erin was a young mother of three children. It was always Erin’s ambition to demonstrate good qualities and work ethics for her children to adopt in their adult lives.
Beginning her career as a medical receptionist in 2000, Erin quickly progressed to Practice Manager in 2001 for a combined GP and A&M clinic. Other than 12 months living in Christchurch, Erin worked predominantly in South Auckland, undertaking various practice coordinator roles. Working with such diverse communities, Erin is passionate about acknowledging and caring for the different cultures she encounters.
Commencing the role with Health Connections as their very first Practice Manager in February 2019, Erin provides support to clinical & administration staff, coordinating the day-to-day operations and service delivery for clients and their stakeholders. Developing and maintaining good working relationships is paramount to her role. Erin is a skilled problem solver and enjoys thinking innovatively; giving a different perspective with an administrative lens when developing processes and guidelines with the clinical team.
Outside of work, Erin balances a busy whanau life filled with the love and support of her partner, three children and two beautiful mokopuna.
“Bula! Born and raised in Fiji, I migrated to New Zealand in 2004. I completed my Bachelor of Nursing at MIT where I graduated in 2012.
My passion is primary care in youth health and quality improvement. I love the challenge of organising specific clinics for our vulnerable young people in the community.
Prior to Health Connections, I worked at Kids First in the Medical, Surgical and Neonatal Intensive Care wards for 6 years as a RN and the Shift Coordinator.
My interests outside of work is managing a youth soccer team and spending quality time with my husband and child.
Stacey descends from Ngai Takoto, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi in the far north, and Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Maru on the east coast. Stacey has a background in kaupapa māori models and extensive experience in Māori mental health and workforce development, Māori policy, Māori education and community legal needs.
With the support of our Kaumātua, Stacey brings passion for structure and critical analysis of indigenous needs and western concepts to ensure the Health Connections team can develop sustainable, authentic best practices that will benefit the needs of mokopuna. Mauri ora!
What are people saying about Health Connections?
Really enjoyed the training and new learning. Great Course and very relevant content; really enjoyed the role modelling activity – Awesome!
Great course, opens up and challenges thinking, questioning process when working with adolescence; a very good course. Thank you. Informative, encouraging and thought provoking.
It was a honour and pleasure to have you guys come out and share your wisdom thank you so much
Just needed to tell you that this stuff (oars and dares) is transformational. I've tried my first forays with adults (obesity and alcohol) and even with a couple of young people.
Many thanks for presenting at the Goodfellow Symposium. We were thrilled by the attendance, the atmosphere and the quality of presentations. Once again I appreciate your contribution to the success of the symposium.
Thank you Maria, Pat and team at Health Connections for the workshop you provided for our nurses (and one GP) in Christchurch. As a Team Leader I was very impressed by the quality of your processes right from the beginning of the negotiation for us contracting your service to the presentation. I appreciated the detailed programme ideas combined with the ability to “flex” to our specific goals and geographical setting. Sitting beside one of our local GP’s during some of the workshop it was great to hear her praise of your teaching frameworks as well. Your presentation was very well constructed with great prompts to remind us of previous learning – dusting off a few cobwebs but yet ensuring we had a solid base to incorporate new knowledge. In my role as Team Leader it was great to know my team were all on the same page with a secure foundational knowledge base and yet inspired for the next level. As a team we have been inspired to make better use of our HEADSSS assessments - increased confidence to use Brief Intervention and formulate more effective Youth and Whanau centred health plans. Your evidenced based presentation has also inspired a new level of hunger for up-to-date researched clinical practice for my team – all but one (who near retirement felt she had an excuse clause) have begun the process of doing their PDRP and are encouraging other locally employed school nurses also. Many also on the team are looking at semester two next year as a group to apply for post graduate study, even two looking at Nursing Practitioner level. When you consider the costs of investing in professional development and I now look at the ongoing benefits it has certainly paid dividends beyond expectations. Also wanted to make special mention of Maria, her exceptional knowledge base and ability to give examples from her practice and encourage the learner to reflect on their own practice was invaluable. Maria has also provided post workshop support with resources for our team which again has been fantastic. Have really appreciated being connected to the team at Health Connections and feel connected literally to a new support network in itself because of the knowledgeable and passionate team they are. Thank you Vivienne Neilson Team Leader School Based Nursing Nurse Maude Christchurch