Heather McLeod

Heather McLeod

Heather studied actuarial science at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and after qualifying as an actuary through London, continued with an investments qualification from the USA. Since 1993 she has worked in healthcare financing, initially as director and health practice partner of a consulting firm working with employers and unions. She joined the University of Cape Town in 1998 to develop courses in private sector healthcare financing and consulted to the South African government on healthcare financing and social security policy.

Heather served on the Council for Medical Schemes, the regulator of private health insurance, for six years from 1999 and was a member of their Executive Committee. She assisted the Department of Health task team implementing the Medical Schemes Act and establishing a new regulatory authority. Since 2003 she has assisted with technical work on the implementation of National Health Insurance and the Risk Equalisation Fund for South Africa. She chaired the Formula Consultative Task Team for the Minister of Health in 2003 and chaired the Risk Equalisation Technical Advisory Panel (RETAP) for a further four years. In 2007 she was appointed to the Advisory Committee on the National Health Reference Price List. In 2009 she was appointed to the Finance Technical Task Team which made recommendations on the health financing agenda for the new Minister of Health.

Heather was appointed by the Minister of Finance in South Africa to serve on the Appeal Board of the Financial Services Board and did so for four terms since 2001. In 2006 she joined the team working on retirement reform for the Department of Social Development and since 2008 has worked with National Treasury on both healthcare and retirement issues.

In 2010 Heather married a New Zealand citizen and moved to New Zealand. She became a New Zealand citizen herself in November 2016.

From December 2012 to July 2015, Heather worked with the Ministry of Health in New Zealand as the Senior Analyst Palliative Care, providing support to the Palliative Care Council. She continued to consult on a part-time basis and from August 2015 returned to full-time consulting.

Heather continued to have visiting appointments as Extraordinary Professor, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Stellenbosch (on-going) and as Adjunct Professor, School of Management Studies, at the University of Cape Town (until 2016).

In New Zealand, Heather is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow with the Te Arai Palliative Care and End of Life Research Group in the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland. She teaches on the post-graduate health sciences programme at the University of Canterbury and has collaborated with the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness (BODE3) team at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Heather has long had a personal interest in traditional and complementary medicine, including studies in naturopathy and formal studies in homeopathy. Heather was licenced as an Ayurvedic Primary Care Advisor with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa from 2002 onwards. She studied clinical hypnotherapy in New Zealand and studied at the Gawler Foundation in Australia as a meditation teacher for people with life-limiting conditions.

She was chair of the Traditional and Complementary Medicine team for the International Actuarial Association Health Section (IAAHS) from 2004 to 2014 and from 2011 to 2013 produced a newsletter on research in integrative medicine for the New Zealand Centre for Evidence‐based Research into Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ENZCAM) at the University of Canterbury.

Heather has been a frequent speaker at international conferences on healthcare financing, risk adjustment, health policy reform, integrative medicine and palliative care. She was a member of the scientific panel for the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) conferences in Beijing, Toronto, Sydney and Dublin. She has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel of the South African Actuarial Journal (SAAJ) since 2005.

Heather is a pioneer by nature. Her major strength is to be able to take complex issues and translate the data and findings into an understandable form for policy-makers and stakeholders. She is an excellent public speaker and teacher. She enjoys leading projects and consortiums of researchers. A particular skill is to involve and mentor younger researchers and transfer skills and knowledge.

Heather McLeod 2012