Professor Jane Gunn appointed Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

World-leading health services and applied clinical researcher Professor Jane Gunn has been appointed as the University of Melbourne’s 18th Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS).

As a University graduate and long-standing faculty member Professor Gunn brings a depth of knowledge, community connections and strong partnerships to the role that will position the Faculty at the forefront of innovation and impact in health.

The appointment follows an extensive and rigorous global search and selection process.

Provost, Professor Nicola Phillips, said Professor Gunn’s contributions over the past two years has enabled the University to navigate the significant changes required throughout this challenging period. She has been acting in the role since February.

“Professor Gunn has led with great assurance and skill, including in guiding the exceptional contribution that the Faculty, its research and staff and students have made to the local, national and international response to the pandemic,” Professor Phillips said.

“She has also demonstrated a strong commitment to building an increasingly diverse and inclusive community in the faculty and more widely across the university – a commitment which she will take forward with energy and conviction in her position as Dean.”

Professor Gunn originally joined the faculty in 1991 as a lecturer and following the completion of her PhD in in 1997, returned as a Senior Lecturer. She has been Head of the Department of General Practice and Deputy Head of the Melbourne Medical School, and then became Deputy Dean.

When appointed interim Dean, Professor Gunn said while she is the first woman to lead the Faculty, she won’t be the last.

“Today, we are a complex, multidisciplinary organisation within a rich network of enduring partnerships. We exhibit a depth of scholarship across biomedical, clinical and public health science. Yet there is enormous potential to be unleashed,” Professor Gunn said.

“Reaching that potential will require the removal of barriers to collaboration and the strengthening of links between schools, faculties, health services, institutes, industry, government and community organisations.”

Professor Gunn’s extensive leadership experience across university, government committees and health sector boards has given her a comprehensive understanding of the importance of partnership and culture in leading change.

A key area of interest has been to transform mental health care in the primary care setting, focusing on depression. Professor Gunn led the internationally-renowned diamond study, which resulted in one of the most comprehensive data sets of its type in the world.

Her research harnesses the patient experience in order to drive health care reform and is the basis of much productive international collaboration. In 2016 she was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in recognition of her leadership in health and medical research. She serves on the AAHMS Medical Sciences steering committee. “Harnessing research for better health: A vision for integrating research into healthcare”.

Professor Gunn also continues to lead an active research group in primary care mental health.

“As Dean, I will foster a culture of innovation by harnessing the strength of our place at the heart of one of the world’s leading biomedical precincts, which will include cultivating programs to enhance interdisciplinary education and research,” Professor Gunn said.

She currently holds Director positions at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Dental Health Services Victoria, Eastern Melbourne PHN, WEHI, The Florey, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health, and is a past Director of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

She has also held Ministerial Appointments such as the NHMRC Research Committee, the Australian Government’s Science Priorities committee, Mental Health Expert Reference Groups, Healthcare Homes initiative and a Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Committee.