Pro Vice-Chancellor appointed to lead Waikato’s new Division of Health

Professor Jo Lane has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor of the new Division of Health at the University of Waikato.

16 May 2024

Professor Jo Lane has been appointed as the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health at the University of Waikato, reflecting the University’s expanding range of health offerings.   

Professor Jo Lane, the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health

As Dean of Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, Professor Lane has spent the last two years working with internal and external stakeholders, enhancing health offerings, and spearheading new programmes tailored to address the current and future health workforce needs of the region.  

I am honoured to take on this new role. There is a health workforce crisis in Aotearoa, and it is a privilege to be able to do something about it. I see significant potential for ongoing growth and innovation of our health offerings,” says Professor Lane.  

Driven by a commitment to achieving better and fairer health outcomes in New Zealand, Professor Lane has been a vocal advocate for graduate-entry programmes as part of the solution to the workforce shortages.   

“As a country, it’s clear that we can’t keep doing more of the same and expecting something different. We need to train more health professionals, but we also need to think about how we do this to ensure better workforce outcomes.”  

Alongside its traditional undergraduate Nursing programme, the University of Waikato offers a highly successful graduate-entry Nursing programme, now the largest in the country. Professor Lane has overseen its growth and has led the development of two new graduate-entry programmes in Pharmacy and Midwifery, which are expected to begin next year. 

Increasingly, students are becoming attracted to careers in health at a later stage of life. This might be because they were reluctant to choose a vocation directly from high school or because they are now looking to change careers. 

“Our new programmes in Pharmacy and Midwifery were developed in response to stakeholder requests and have been designed to attract new students to these important health professions. They provide real solutions to these very real workforce shortages."

Since the recent MOU signing, Professor Lane has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders on a business case to establish a graduate-entry medical school at the University of Waikato. The proposal focuses on addressing the country’s biggest medical workforce needs, which include primary care specialties and working in regional and rural communities. 

Professor Lane started at the University of Waikato in 2009 as a Lecturer and has held various roles in the School of Science and the School of Health. He has a PhD in computational chemistry from the University of Otago, with research interests spanning biomedical sciences and beyond.  

Professor Lane also brings significant governance experience to the role, having served as a company director and Board Chair in the private tertiary sector.   

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