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17th conference, Queenstown, New Zealand, 2018

April 23-26, 2018

International Health Workforce Collaborative LogoThis series of International Health Workforce Collaborative (IHWC) conferences brings together policy makers, academics, researchers and practitioners from the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom with responsibility for and interests in medical workforce issues. It includes approximately 20 delegates from each of these countries and guests from several other countries and organizations.

Participation in this conference is by invitation only. Invitees are responsible for their travel, accommodation and conference registration expenses.

The 17th International Health Workforce Collaborative (IHWC) Conference will take place on April 23-26, 2018 in Queenstown, New Zealand, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 93 Beach Street. The IHWC was initiated in 1996 and delegates include governmental and non-governmental policy makers, economists, researchers, medical educators, health service clinicians and managers from around the globe.

This invitation-only conference will provide delegates with a unique opportunity to discuss key global/local workforce issues facing their respective countries: The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Following a day assessing comparative data strategies, the conference features an in-depth exploration of health workforce scenarios including:

  • Consumer directed care funding models
  • Effective home care in rural communities
  • Health care for transitory populations
  • Upskilling the home care workforce to improve integration of social and medical services

Event Schedule

Day 1

09:00 - 16:00 - IHWC Data Olympics

The 2018 IHWC Data Olympics will see IHWC nations competing to find out who's out front using data to help with health workforce research and decision-making. Who's developed the most robust data sets? Who's coming up with the most innovative and sound methodologies, analytics and tools? After fair and good-spirited competition, Data Olympics participants will decide who stands in the winner's circle. Which nation will go home with the gold?

17:00 - 19:00 - Welcome reception and cocktail party

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Welcome to IHWC 2018. Join us for a cocktail party at the Crowne Plaza. All IHWC delegates and their guests are invited to attend. Tickets are limited and are available to purchase when you register for the conference.

Day 2

08:00 - 09:00 - Welcome, Introduction and First Plenary Session

Chair: Professor Des Gorman
Welcome to the 17th International Health workforce Collaborative conference. The theme for the conference is Health and Vulnerable Communities.

10:00 - 10:30 - Welcome and Opening

New Zealand Minister of Health coat of arms

New Zealand Minister of Health

To be confirmed

10:30 - 11:30 - Identifying user requirements and employing design thinking in healthcare

Dr. Tom Aretz
Healthcare workforce planning and development are major issues globally – quantity, quality, distribution, flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness to consumers are all issues. Increasingly, unmet health needs and the requirement of end-users, patients and society at large are the driving forces for new models in workforce development. These efforts are informed by principles of design thinking to create sustainable and adaptable solutions, rather than merely reshuffling the existing workforce to address crises.

11:30 - 12:30 - Funding Innovative Healthcare

Dr. Murray Horn
Helpful innovation in health service mix and design is most likely when funding and accountability is focused on results, rather than on compensating providers for the cost of providing existing services in existing ways. In some cases this is well approximated by common funding mechanisms. However, there is much more scope for focusing funding and accountability more directly on outcomes (especially on longer-term health benefits as well as improved social outcomes that reduce wider fiscal costs) and giving providers the freedom, as well as incentive, to find better ways of delivering these outcomes. The resulting innovation in service mix, design and integrated delivery would have a profound effect on the future health workforce.

13:30 - Introduction to scenarios for work-groups sessions

Chair: Nick Lord
Nick is an executive officer with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Previously he worked as the Executive Director of Allied Health at Children’s Health Services in Queensland, a Project Manager for Health Workforce Australia, and as Deputy Director of Medical Workforce Planning and Coordination at Queensland Health. His interests are in national health workforce policy, planning, regulation and innovation.

13:30 - 14:15 - Australasian Delegation Scenario Presentation

Australasian flag

Chair: Australasian Delegation
Consumer directed care funding models

Since 1 July 2016 Australia has been implementing a national publicly funded insurance scheme for its population with permanent disability, known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS will gradually replace a myriad of insurance arrangements for people living with disability that have occurred across Australia’s eight States and Territories. Crucially, the NDIS will be based on a consumer directed care funding model. While the NDIS is not a funding scheme for health care, but has a clear intersection with the health system and health services, with significant health workforce ramifications.

Creating an effective interface between the acute health sector and community services sector is an age-old problem across first world countries. In Australia, there are several challenges created by the emergence of a nationally separate and distinct funding scheme for people living with disabilities. First, the intersect between two insurance schemes (ie one for the health system and one for disability services) is likely to create anomalies where people ‘fall between the cracks’ of the two systems or where duplication of services are provided– particularly in vulnerable communities such as people living with mental health illness.

Second, the divide between these two systems risks further fragmentation of the workforce that provides these services. Australia’s health system workforce is highly trained and expensive, while the disability services system by contrast is heavily reliant on an assistant workforce with lower end vocational qualifications. Consumers cannot always be neatly allocated into one of these two systems, which means that coordination between the providers and their workforce is essential for quality outcomes.

These challenges lead to the following question - what levers are available to allow the health and disability workforce to adapt to a consumer directed care scheme where large numbers of assistants will be required to provide the bulk of services, but where health profession expertise will be required to support models of service that maximize outcomes while avoiding unnecessary drains on the acute health system? In relation to this, what global service provision models have evolved, including key governance lessons of potential relevance to the NDIS in Australia?

14:15 - 15:00 - Canadian Delegation Scenario Presentation

Canadian flag

CHAIR: Canadian Delegation
Effective home care in rural communities

What are the overall policy considerations that need to underpin the provision of effective home care in rural communities?

According to a report just released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information , one in five seniors with to moderate MAPLe scores could have delayed or even avoided admission to residential care; they could have received care in their own home or in home-like settings.

Receiving care at home is often considered the preferred option for people requiring basic chronic, palliative or rehabilitative care. With appropriate care, suited to their needs, people have the option to remain in their homes while they convalesce and/or continue to live independently.

Home care can be provided by a number of formal and informal health care providers depending on the health issues of the patient and the particular characteristics of the community. Unfortunately, there exists a number of challenges for providing effective home care in rural communities in Canada. These include, for example, a lack of caregivers, such as home support workers; difficulties related to travel, transportation and access; and limited local resources (e.g. Long Term Care beds) . Issues of wage gaps, working conditions, isolation, support and education are also well documented barriers for many health care workers who might otherwise pursue employment in rural areas.

A number of innovative pilot projects have been implemented in Canada and in other countries to address these challenges with varying degrees of success. The Canada-led IHWC workshop will focus on identifying the strengths, weaknesses, enablers and barriers of new models of rural care (e.g., telehealth, community paramedicine, and rural health hubs). Prior to the conference, workshop participants will identify 1 or 2 successful interventions of rural home care, with the strengths, weaknesses, barriers and enablers for each one. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to build an inventory of practical models and, during the conference breakout sessions, develop strategies and plans to adapt these to their own contexts and rural communities.

More information on this scenario is available for download.

  1. Seniors in Transition: Exploring Pathways Across the Care Continuum
  2. What MAPLe scores mean
  3. Canadian Home Care Association,The Delivery of Home Care Services in Rural and Remote Communities in Canada, p. 8
  4. Issues Affecting Access to Health Services in Northern, Rural and Remote Regions of Canada

15:30 - 16:15 - UK Delegation Scenario Presentation

UK flag

CHAIR: UK Delegation
Health care for transitory populations

Transitory populations (those without secure accommodation, or any accommodation and recently arrived immigrants) are geographically concentrated in inner city areas; not specifically the capital city. The families of service personnel are also more mobile than 'typical' families and are geographically concentrated (around bases) but not necessarily in cities, but may also be interesting to include.

These mobile populations can experience difficulties in accessing health care - for reasons related to their mobility (moving between health communities and having to repeat gateway diagnosis processes) and inherent in their demographic features (not having English as a first language, difficulty registering, difficulty finding/funding healthcare, ineligibility for universal services and unwillingness to access services, even though they are available, often not until the healthcare need becomes acute).

These areas are also often hard to populate with workforce: house prices are higher, or when house prices are lower this makes the area viewed as “not a nice place to live or work”, it's a more demanding job than 'leafy suburbs and the worried well', performance targets or income streams are harder to hit with a perceived uncooperative population.

With any complex issue, the 'solution' is usually a multi-faceted series of 'solutions': bespoke training for the current workforce, exposure during pre-registration training, incentivizing employment in those areas.

This topic would explore:

  1. How do we see if current interventions are working?
  2. What's the most effective 'solution' and can any be dropped to be more cost effective?
  3. What new interventions could be made?

16:15 - 17:00 - US Delegation Scenario Presentation

US flag

CHAIR: US Delegation
Upskilling the home care workforce to improve integration of social and medical services

The health care market place does not adequately reward investing in home health care models that support better integration of health and social services for our growing aged population.

Innovations in use of the home health care workforce have demonstrated that with more training and better care models, home care workers could play a greater role in helping patients have a better quality of life with lower overall healthcare costs. For example, integrated care teams skilled in motivational interviewing can increase patient engagement in their care. Empowering home care workers to screen for and alert care teams about food insecurity or social isolation risks can improve patient outcomes. Uptake of new approaches to using the home care workforce is slow, with industry leaders pointing to challenges such as lack of common definitions and measures for home health care quality, and lack of funding models for new innovations.

The focus of this scenario would be to detail a convincing business case (including improvements in economic efficiency, health outcomes and worker satisfaction) that would lead home health agencies, health care delivery system leaders, and policy leaders to:

  1. Better value the role that the home health workforce could play in new models of care that integrate home care and medical care.
  2. Invest in education and training for home care workers on motivational interviewing, etc. so that they have the skills and resources needed to be successful in new models of care.
  3. Create a home health job market that rewards home care workers for providing high quality care and provides living wages and career ladders.
    1. New York Home Care: Leaders Reflect on the Changing Landscape

Day 3

08:00 - 09:00 - First Poster Session

Coordinator: Danielle Fréchette
These sessions feature ‘Health and Vulnerable Communities’ related workforce research posters selected through a peer-review process.

09:00 - 10:00 - Second Plenary Session

Chair: Professor Ivy Bourgeault
Combining qualitative and quantitative workforce analyses to generate robust workforce intelligence – a primary care example.

Professor Erin Fraher and Emmanuel Jo

10:30 - 12:30 - First Workgroup Session

Coordinator: Stephen Barclay
Stephen is the Chief People and Transformation Officer at the New Zealand Ministry of Health. His career spans several industries and has generally involved implementing change in large listed or high-profile organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Stephen has a BE (Civil) from Auckland and an MBA from Melbourne.

13:30 - 16:00 - Second Workgroup Session

Coordinator: Professor Tim Wilkinson
To be confirmed

17:30 - 22:30 - Conference Dinner

TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Station
Cruise with other IHWC delegates on Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw. The fee covers the cruise, dinner, drinks and a New Zealand farm demonstration.

Day 4

08:00 - 09:00 - Second Poster Session

Coordinator: Carole Jacob
These sessions feature ‘Health and Vulnerable Communities’ related workforce research posters selected through a peer-review process.

09:00 - 10:00 - Third Plenary Session

Chair: Dr. Clese Erikson
A vulnerable healthcare community – immigrant health workers.

Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne

10:30 - 12:30 - First Workgroup Feedback Session

Chairs: Dr. Tom Aretz and Dr. Murray Horn

  • Presentation: Workgroup One
  • Australian Delegation feedback
  • Open Forum
  • Presentation: Workgroup Two
  • Canadian Delegation feedback
  • Open Forum

13:30 - 15:30 - Second Workgroup Feedback Session

Chairs: Dr. Murray Horn and Dr. Tom Aretz

  • Presentation: Workgroup Three
  • UK Delegation feedback
  • Open Forum
  • Presentation: Workgroup Four
  • US Delegation feedback
  • Open Forum

16:00 - 17:00 - Concluding Session

Chair: Professor Des Gorman
Summary of the 2018 conference and attendee feedback. Discussion of the next IHWC conference timing, location and construct.

Acknowledgements and farewells.

Plenary Sessions Presentations


This is an opportunity to share and discuss your current workforce-related research and activities with delegates from around the world.

Submit your abstract by January 5, 2018 and you could be selected to display and discuss your 'Health and Vulnerable Communities' related workforce research poster at the IHWC 2018.

Consideration may be given to abstracts received within a reasonable time after the deadline; authors should contact cjacob@royalcollege.ca prior to submitting if they wish to proceed after the deadline.

Australia/New Zealand


United Kingdom

United States

Meeting Location

Crowne Plaza Hotel
93 Beach Street
Queenstown, 9300
New Zealand
Phone: 0800 154 181


This meeting is an invitation-only meeting. Invitees will receive a communication with registration details. The invitation is not transferable.


Program/General Questions:
Des Gorman, Chair, 18th IHWC