Joanne Baxter

Poutini Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō

Professor Joanne Baxter BHB MB ChB(Auck) MPH(Otago) FAFPHM FNZCPHM is a public health medicine specialist with research interests in Māori health workforce development, Māori mental health and health inequalities.

In 2022, Joanne was appointed the first wāhine Māori Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine. Working for over 20 years in the Dunedin School of Medicine, Joanne has shown that she is committed to making a real difference in education and health for individuals, whānau and communities through teaching, research, and service.  

As Dean, she aims to support Māori academic excellence in the health sciences and increase the Māori health workforce through a number of tailored programmes. As a result, for the first time at the University of Otago, the number of Māori medical graduates is equal to the proportion of Māori in Aotearoa. ­­­Joanne says achieving this representative number of Māori graduates in health and, eventually, the medical workforce will make a difference that whānau, hospitals and communities will feel.

Joanne has worked as a public health physician who teaches Māori health and works to support health services. She has been teaching Hauora Māori to medical students across all her years at the University. Her work has greatly supported the Māori Health major in the Bachelor of Health Science degree.

Throughout her career, Joanne has held strong community values with a focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives and Te Tiriti o Waitangi engagement. Her work has also been underpinned by Māori values, including whakawhanaungatanga - strong relationships and connections, whakamana - upholding mana and integrity, and manaakitanga - generosity, support and looking after.

Joanne has experience working in various academic and public sector environments, including universities. She is a Fellow of the NZ College of Public Health Medicine and sits on the Ministry of Health’s Health Workforce Advisory Committee.  

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