Waikato bolsters health leadership team

22 August 2023

Te Huataki Waiora School of Health team Dr Ryan Paul, Dr Ross Lawrenson and Dr Rawiri Keenan
Te Huataki Waiora School of Health team Dr Ryan Paul, Dr Ross Lawrenson and Dr Rawiri Keenan

The University of Waikato has announced three key appointments to Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, as it focuses on delivering academic programmes that help meet the current and future workforce needs in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last month it was announced that, if it is elected at the next general election, a future National government would support the development of a third medical school at the University of Waikato to help address workforce challenges.

“We are fully committed to establishing the medical school and believe it is needed as the workforce and system challenges in health will not improve if we keep doing the same thing,” School of Health Dean, Professor Jo Lane, says

“As a university we are focused on supporting fairer health outcomes in our communities and achieving this by delivering a full range of allied health programmes.”

The University has appointed Professor Ross Lawrenson as its new Director of Medicine at the School of Health. Formerly a GP and the University’s Professor of Population Health, Professor Lawrenson has more than 25 years’ research experience and has a particular interest in the importance of primary care on health outcomes.

Professor Lawrenson is an investigator on a number of Health Research Council collaborations and has held a number of governance roles including being on the Board of Pharmac from 2016 to 2020, Chair of the National Screening Advisory Committee from 2009-2016, and NZ Chair of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM). He was previously Dean of the Postgraduate Medical School at the University of Surrey and then Assistant Dean University of Auckland.

“Ross is a highly experienced, well known and hugely respected expert and we are excited about what he will bring to this position,” Professor Lane says.

As well as his appointment, the School of Health has appointed Dr Ryan Paul (Ngāti Maru) as Associate Professor – Medicine, and Dr Rawiri Keenan (Te Atiawa, Taranaki), as Associate Professor – Primary Care.

Dr Paul has been a senior lecturer in diabetes and endocrinology since 2016. He is the Immediate Past President of the New Zealand Society of Endocrinology, President Elect of the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes, Convenor of the New Zealand National Diabetes Guidance Group and a Clinical Associate of the Maurice Wilkins Centre. Dr Paul was awarded New Zealand Medical Educator of the Year in 2019 and established the Advanced Diabetes Management Course.

“Ryan provides the School of Health with key strategic partnerships, relevant for both teaching and research, including clinical leadership within the Medical Research Centre, and he has initiated professional development activities for primary care practitioners,” Professor Lane says.

Dr Keenan is a vocationally registered GP who has held various local and national roles alongside clinical work. Currently he is a member of the National Mortality Review Committee and Patient Reported Measures Steering Group for Te Tāhū Hauora Health Quality and Safety Commission and the National clinical assembly for Te Aho o Te Kahu (Cancer control agency).

“Rawiri has excellent links with Māori doctors across New Zealand and is much valued for his guidance on tikanga in the health setting. He is invaluable to our health research efforts providing credible Māori input into our research applications and provides mana and expertise to our Māori health initiatives across the School of Health.”

Professor Lane says the University is pleased to have such capable and experienced practitioners take on these important leadership roles within its growing and socially-responsive School of Health.

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