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CO Jennifer Ahearn takes up new post

After serving ten years in the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn will take up the post of Strategic Operations Officer where she will continue to report to the Deputy Governor. The appointment becomes effective on 1 August 2019.

In welcoming her to her new role, the Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service Franz Manderson, MBE, said “I welcome Ms Ahearn to the Office of the Deputy Governor and thank her for her dedication and commitment to the Ministry of Health. While the Civil Service has made significant progress in the areas of governance, innovation and reducing bureaucracy, there is still much work to be done. I am most fortunate to have someone of Ms Ahearn’s considerable experience and expertise come on board to lead these critical areas which are essential if we are to become a World-Class Civil Service”.

Ms Ahearn leaves the Ministry of Health with many accomplishments, including working to develop the National Conservation Law and the recent expansion of the Marine Parks. She has also been involved in comprehensive reviews of the Health Insurance Legislation and the Mental Health Legislation. The latter led to the creation of the Mental Health Commission, as well as the development of novel legislation including the Organ and Tissue Transplant Law to create the legal framework to facilitate organ and tissue donation and transplant in the Cayman Islands, and the Healthcare Decisions Law to allow for the recognition of advance directives for end of life care.

Ms Ahearn also led in the creation of the first National Health Policy, National Sports Policy, National Solid Waste Management Strategy, Mental Health Policy, and Culture and Heritage Policy. As a project sponsor, she has led the procurement of the new Integrated Solid Waste Management System to the historic stage of having a preferred bidder identified to deliver this key project. She has also brought the procurement process for the much-needed Long Term Residential Mental Health Facility to the point of contract award.

In welcoming the new challenge Ms Ahearn commented that while she welcomes the new role and is excited about the fantastic opportunities it will bring, the move is a bittersweet one as she is going to miss working with her amazing colleagues at the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture, and Housing, and the agencies under the Ministry. “The Strategic Operations Officer role will give me the opportunity to draw on all of the experience I’ve gained over my 22+ years in the Civil Service, from the Department level to the Ministry level, to help identify the opportunities we have to achieve “World-Class” in the areas of efficiency, governance, and innovation” notes Ms Ahearn, “and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues across the Civil Service as we move forward with this important work.”

Deputy Chief Officer Nancy Barnard will immediately take on acting Chief Officer duties. However she will be leaving on vacation very shortly and the Ministry’s Chief Financial Officer Ms Nellie Pouchie will cover the acting Chief Officer’s duties while Ms Barnard is on leave.

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