Dr Diana Sarfati – Inducted 2022
Tuesday, 1 November 2022
Marsden Years: 1975 - 1985 (Year 3-Year 13)
This award recognises Diana Sarfati’s contribution, nationally and internationally, as a health physician, a cancer epidemiologist and a health services researcher.  Currently she is the Interim Director General of Health and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Health.

Diana started at Marsden in Year 3 in 1975 and left for the University of Otago at the end of 1985.  By 1991, she had completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), and later a PHD.  Diana was following in family footsteps – her father was a doctor.  Her career has been varied but generally focussed in the areas of cancer and the inequity in health systems and their outcomes, especially in Maori and Pasifika communities.  She is a regular speaker at conferences and has written many research papers.  Diana was NEXT magazine’s Supreme Woman of the Year in 2019.

Before her current role as Interim Director General of Health, Diana was CEO of the Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency in New Zealand.  The task in this new agency included a plan to provide a consistent and modern system; fewer cancers; equitable cancer outcomes and better cancer survival.  By her own admission, Diana says she thrives under pressure.  This, and her ability and experience to collaborate with stakeholders and understand their point of view has been beneficial to her success.  Her recognition of injustice in the health system has driven her work and she is not afraid to challenge it.  She knows there is work to be done, and none of it has been helped by the pandemic.

Diana is forthright.  It’s a cliché she says, but tough times make you stronger[1]; she has had to make choices, but has followed a path convinced that she could be a good mother and still make a difference in the world.