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Leading Health Academic Appointed To Senior Post

Thursday 28 July 2005

Otago Appoints Leading Health Academic To Senior Post

Paediatrician returning from Australia to take helm of Health Sciences Division

Professor Don Roberton, one of the leading health science academics in Australia, will be the University of Otago’s next Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences. He will take up this position in February 2006.

Professor Roberton, who will also be Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Otago, is currently the McGregor Reid Professor of Paediatrics in the University of Adelaide and President of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

“I’m delighted that Professor Roberton will be leading the Division of Health Sciences at Otago,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg. “He has an outstanding record as a clinician, researcher and teacher, and has proved to be a highly capable administrator.

“The Division of Health Sciences at the University of Otago is New Zealand's leading provider of education and research in health and biomedical sciences. The appointment committee considered that Professor Roberton is an ideal person to head the Division in the next phase of its development.”

After graduating from the University of Otago in 1971, Dr Roberton trained as a paediatrician in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In 1982 he returned to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne as a consultant general paediatrician, immunologist, and rheumatologist. He became a senior lecturer in the University of Melbourne in 1984, and took up his present chair in 1989. He was a highly successful Head of Department for 15 years, and also spent a period as Chief of the Division of Paediatric Medicine at the Adelaide Children's Hospital.

In addition to his qualifications in paediatrics (MD, FRACP), Professor Roberton is an immunologist with a formal pathology qualification (FRCPA). He has had a distinguished research career, including work in basic and clinical immunology, paediatric rheumatology, vaccine development and immunisation, and in medical education.

At the University of Adelaide he has been involved in Faculty-wide curriculum development. He has also had an outstanding record as a supervisor of postgraduate research students. In addition to his leadership responsibilities in Adelaide, Professor Roberton has served on many national and international committees.

Professor Roberton says he has always been very proud of being an Otago graduate and it was a great privilege to now have the opportunity to be a part of the future of the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Otago.

“In my time working in other countries around the world, it has always been evident that Otago graduates have a very highly regarded international reputation. They are recognised for their uncompromising standards in teaching and leadership, and in particular, for their contributions to knowledge through highly regarded research.

“I look forward to working with the many outstanding people in the Division and the University. It is six months before I take up the position, but I look forward to visiting Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin before then to begin to meet those in the Division and hear of their thoughts for the future.”

Professor Roberton is married to Dr Gayle Roberton, who is also an Otago graduate and is an anaesthetist.

Professor Roberton succeeds Professor Linda Holloway who will be retiring in early 2006 after serving for seven years as head of the Division of Health Sciences.


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