New University of Waikato Health Dean has health workforce in his sights

26 Apr 2023

Better, fairer health outcomes and responding to community need will be the priorities for newly appointed Dean of University of Waikato School of Health, Professor Jo Lane.

Professor Jo Lane, Dean of Te Huataki Waiora, School of Health at the University of Waikato.

Professor Lane begins his role as Dean of Te Huataki Waiora School of Health this week and says he is excited by the significant opportunity the University of Waikato can play in addressing the current health workforce challenges.

“As a country, we need to be far more strategic in terms of our local health workforce development, instead of constantly looking for short-term band-aid solutions,” Professor Lane says.

"Many of the current shortages are entirely predictable and the situation is not going to materially improve if we just keep doing more of the same. A new systems-based approach is needed that targets the actual barriers preventing more students from studying towards each health profession.

“The University of Waikato stands proudly behind our moto, Ko Te Tangata - For the People. We see it as our responsibility to deliver academic programmes that meet the current and future workforce needs of the health sector in Aotearoa.”

Professor Lane says the University is extremely proud of the success of its newly established nursing programmes and has doubled its intake of students in 2023 in response to severe staff shortages in the health workforce. But there is much more to be done.

“We remain committed to the establishment of a third medical school in Aotearoa and to offer a full range of allied health programmes.”

Professor Jo Lane was previously Deputy Dean in Te Aka Mātuatua - School of Science. He has a PhD in computational chemistry from the University of Otago, with research interests across a wide range of fields, including biomedical science.

He also brings significant governance experience to the role, having served as a company director and Board Chair for ATC New Zealand, one of the country’s largest Private Training Establishments (PTEs).

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