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University of Otago announces new Wellington campus Dean

Students waiting for class

Wednesday 2 February 2011 12:20pm

Photo of Sunny Collings. The University of Otago has appointed Associate Professor Sunny Collings as the next Dean and Head of Campus at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Associate Professor Collings is currently an Associate Dean at the Wellington campus, where she has worked in joint academic and clinical roles for 19 years. She succeeds Professor Peter Crampton, who has become Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences, for the University.

After graduating in Medicine from Otago in 1984, Associate Professor Collings trained in Psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital in London. In addition to her specialist qualifications in Psychiatry, she has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (with Distinction) and a PhD at Otago.

Associate Professor Collings is Director of the Social Psychiatry and Population Mental Health Research Unit in the Department of Public Health at the Wellington campus. The Unit employs 28 staff and she currently supervises nine research students.

Her research interests include suicide, primary-care level interventions for mental health problems, carers for people with mental disorders, and the social experience of people with such disorders. Since 2007, her studies have attracted around $8.8 million in external research funding.

Associate Professor Collings became an Associate Dean at the Wellington campus in 2002, with responsibilities for Postgraduate Studies, and since 2008, for Research also.

Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg says Associate Professor Collings was selected from a strong field of local and external candidates, by a panel which included representation from the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

“I am delighted by her appointment as Dean at one of New Zealand’s leading providers of medical and health research and teaching. Our Wellington campus has made excellent progress in recent years and I am confident that this will continue under her leadership,” Professor Skegg says.

Professor Peter Crampton also says that he is delighted to welcome Associate Professor Collings to the position.

“Her background as a senior clinician, successful researcher and senior administrator means she is ideally suited for this important leadership role. I very much look forward to working with her over coming years,” says Professor Crampton.

Associate Professor Collings says she is excited and honoured by her appointment.

“It will be a privilege to work with our talented and committed staff in my new role. This is a particularly exciting and important time for us with the opportunity to build a strong alliance with the new senior leadership at Capital & Coast DHB,” Associate Professor Collings says.

“Our medical training, radiation therapy and postgraduate programmes are thriving and our research programmes are growing and making a difference. I will be working hard with academic and general staff colleagues to keep up the momentum in these areas.

“We also have important teaching and research partners throughout New Zealand in DHBs and government agencies within all our programmes. I am looking forward to working with these organisations to further these collaborations for our mutual benefit,” she says.

Associate Professor Collings will continue her own clinical work in a small capacity for Capital & Coast. She will also maintain her current research collaborations on suicide prevention, primary care mental health and understanding treatment pressure in community mental health practice.

“I have a fantastic team of research staff and students doing interesting and important work and remaining an active member of that team is important to me while carrying out my new role.”

Associate Professor Collings takes up the position on 14 February, with the rank of Professor.

For more information, contact

Associate Professor Sunny Collings
Tel +64 4 385 5541

Professor Peter Crampton
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Division of Health Sciences
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 7413

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