Key health appointments give boost to Wintec

Centre Director Health and Social Practice Professor Sharon Brownie and Head of Physiotherapy Dr Ricky Bell

Key health appointments: Wintec’s new Centre Director for Health and Social Practice, Professor Sharon Brownie, and Head of Physiotherapy, Dr Ricky Bell. 

Wintec, the largest health and social practice education provider in the Midland region, welcomed a new Centre Director for Health and Social Practice Professor, Sharon Brownie and the first Head of Physiotherapy Dr Ricky Bell, on board last week. 

Both were welcomed at a pōwhiri at Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae in Hamilton. Through their professorial-level expertise, and combined doctoral research, these appointments further strengthen Wintec’s academic capability and profile in health and social practice.

Professor Brownie, has significant experience in health, education and research, with a proven track record in health leadership and in building capacity and capability across large teams nationally and internationally.

Her most recent role was Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Aga Khan University in East Africa, a position she held for the past four years. Concurrently she maintains her roles as an Adjunct Professor School of Medicine at Griffith University in Australia, as well as a Research Associate at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Previous roles have included Northland Commissioner for Employment Work & Income New Zealand, being the Professor Workforce and Health Services at Griffith University, and Chief Executive of the Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatrists.

Professor Brownie’s professional qualifications include being a registered nurse and midwife and she has an extensive list of academic achievements including a Master of Applied Management (Nursing), Master of Educational Administration, Master of Health Service Management and a Doctor of Business Administration focused on partnership-based public policy, local development and capacity building.

She is excited to be home to New Zealand and back to Hamilton, the city where she first qualified as a midwife.  

“It was a great privilege and a special occasion to be welcomed so warmly at the pōwhiri, and back into my community and the wider region where I was raised. I’m delighted to be part of an organisation with such a strong commitment to the learning journey of its students and in to building capability of its staff.  There are also so many strong community partnerships in the wider health community with Wintec. I’m keen to develop those relationships further in this role and work together in building the health workforce, and in transforming lives through education.”

Dr Bell (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hau, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri), Wintec’s first Head of Physiotherapy, has moved from Northland to the Waikato to lead Wintec’s new school.

For the last 26 years Dr Bell has mainly been a private practitioner and during the past eight years has diversified his interests to become involved with research, allied health leadership, governance, and regulatory roles. Through the support of hapū and whānau, Ricky was honoured to be the first Māori to be awarded a PhD from the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in 2018.  

He will take on the strategic and operational leadership of Wintec’s Bachelor of Physiotherapy programme, which commenced with its first cohort of students last year. Wintec’s new physiotherapy school was the first to be approved in New Zealand for over 45 years.

“The equity focus of the Wintec physiotherapy programme, along with aspirations to help develop culturally responsive graduates, and increasing the number of Māori and Pasifika physios, were big attractors for me taking on this role,” says Dr Bell.

“It has been a massive honour for me and my whānau to have been offered the inaugural Head of Physiotherapy position, it is also a big responsibility, and I hope that I can fulfil the expectations that people have of me. I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the Wintec team, and on behalf of my whānau I would like to thank the haukāinga of Waikato-Tainui for welcoming us at the pōwhiri. It was humbling to listen to the kōrero inside the wharenui, and to feel the aroha and manaakitanga of the Wintec whānau has been a real privilege.”

Dr Bell says he is keen to learn more about this region and the communities that Wintec serves.

Wintec Chief Executive David Christiansen says both Professor Brownie and Dr Bell are key appointments to lead and support Wintec’s well-established Centre for Health and Social Practice. 

“They will play an important part, along with all staff, in enabling us to produce diversity of graduates, with a focus on Māori and Pasifika, cultural responsiveness and meeting the needs of the communities we serve.”

“They will enhance Wintec’s very strong presence and role in leading health education in the greater Waikato/Midland region, as well as build on the already strong networks we have with employers, community providers and students.”  

Find out more about Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice.

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