Debbie Sorensen is a health strategist and management expert specialising in projects that address the health challenges facing Pacific populations in New Zealand and the Pacific region.
She has an impressive track record in change management and played a leading role in the health reforms of the 1980s and ’90s in New Zealand and the establishment of the Pacific health sector. She has received a number of awards including the Excellence in Leadership Award from South Seas Healthcare Ltd, the Service Award from the Pasifika Medical Association and was highly commended in the 1999 Pacific Business Person of the Year award by the Pacific Business Trust. In 2011 Debbie was awarded a prestigious ANIVA Health Leadership Fellowship which supported her to complete an executive leadership programme at Harvard University. Most recently, Debbie was awarded with the Royal Order of the Crown of Tonga Commander award from His Majesty King Tupou VI of Tonga for her services to the people of Tonga.
Debbie has held many high profile roles in Pacific health including General Manager of Pacific Health at Counties Manukau DHB from 1999 to 2003 and Chief Advisor Pacific Health (1998–99) at the Ministry of Health. She is currently Director of international consultancy Health Specialists and Chief Executive of the Pasifika Medical Association. Her work with the Pasifika Medical Association was recognised in 2007 with a Service Award.
Debbie works as an advisor to Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers and Health Ministers throughout the Pacific region and has worked in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, the Solomons, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.