About Us

The AYA Cancer Network Aotearoa: A Membership Organisation

The AYA Cancer Network Aotearoa was established in 2013 to determine and direct improvements in cancer services for young people. The Network provides strategic direction, clinical leadership and monitoring of AYA cancer in New Zealand. Te Aho o Te Kahu (The Cancer Control Agency) contracts directly with the Network to undertake their role.

The Network is a membership organisation that connects hands-on health professionals and support providers from many disciplines and organisations. This includes medical, nursing, allied health and NGO sector specialists.  The aim of the network is to find new and innovative ways of delivering care to all AYAs diagnosed with cancer and to improve outcomes.

Young people and their whānau are central to the work undertaken by the Network. Opportunities are created for young people to shape, design and contribute to policy. This may include Network activities, Network Governance and the development of AYA cancer services.

Furthermore, the Network is resourced to provide the clinical guidance and project management expertise to translate the ideas and knowledge of passionate practitioners and young people into implementable national solutions. Small project and working groups are utilised to provide advice, recommendations as well as action plans on specific areas of AYA cancer service delivery.

Leading collaboration for service development across the continuum of cancer care for AYAs

Heidi Watson

The Clinical Leader is responsible for providing clinical leadership and national oversight of the network .

Heidi is a passionate and experienced health professional with a strong clinical, education and leadership background. Her enthusiasm for, and commitment to youth health has focused on improving the outcomes of youth with cancer and chronic health conditions. Previously, Heidi held the position of AYA Cancer Nurse Specialist for Auckland District Health Board. Alongside her AYA clinical leadership role she holds a youth health academic position at the University of Auckland.