The (NIHI), based at the University of Auckland, has appointed a new general manager to lead the strategic development and day-to-day work of transforming research into innovative approaches to todayâ€™s most pressing health problems.Ěý
Vanessa Ding has a background in psychology and biology as well as wide-ranging leadership experience in product development, strategic sales, marketing and social enterprise. Most recently, she was head of development at Ignite Aotearoa, a mental health and wellbeing social enterprise run by Emerge Aotearoa, a national charitable trust.Ěý
â€śAt the National Institute for Health Innovation, we discover and develop solutions to big public health problems,â€ť said Ding. â€śUniversity of ĐÓ°ÉAPPresearchers discover the issues and potential ways to address them, while NIHI supports the programmes, clinical trials, technology and commercialisation of whatâ€™s needed to turn the research evidence into something that has an impact in our communities. Iâ€™m excited to have the opportunity to help implement innovative approaches that can bring greater equity and accessibility to hauora in Aotearoa.â€ť
NIHI is managed by UniServices, the research commercialisation and knowledge mobilisation company of the University of Auckland.
â€śVanessa understands that high-quality, policy-relevant research and research-informed service delivery come from a collaborative organisational culture in which the whole team â€“ project managers, digital developers, financial analysts, and researchers â€“ work hand-in-glove together,â€ť said Professor Chris Bullen, Director of NIHI. â€śI am delighted with Vanessaâ€™s appointment as NIHIâ€™s new GM and look forward to working closely with her as she leads the team into the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2022 and beyond.â€ť
Dingâ€™s first major professional success was in research â€“ in her early 20s, she had a paper published in the New Zealand Journal of Psychology that was well cited for its findings about workplace discrimination against overweight women.Ěý
â€śWhile I didnâ€™t end up pursuing a research career, the experience helped me understand the power that quality research can bring to making change in health and social outcomes,â€ť said Ding. â€śIn the private sector, Iâ€™ve seen products with great user experience and engagement but not always a robust evidence base, while the reverse is often true in the academic space. NIHI bridges the gap between evidence and user-centred solutions.â€ť
As general manager, Ding aims to grow NIHI in capability, scale and impact as a centre of excellence for the development of evidence-based solutions and policy ideas for public health issues.
â€śIâ€™d like us to be the go-to for any public or private organisation looking to solve complex health problems in ways underpinned by research evidence,â€ť said Ding. â€śThat means ensuring NIHI has the strong, stable infrastructure to do this in a modern, innovative way. Iâ€™d also like us to live up to international standards for health institutes across the world and contribute to solutions globally. For me itâ€™s all about supporting people to thrive, not just survive.â€ť
â€śNIHI is more relevant than ever in todayâ€™s world, not only because of Covid-19 but also because of the public health crises we have related to addiction, mental health and obesity,â€ť said Toni Laming, UniServices Executive Director of Business Units. â€śVanessa brings in the skills and passion needed to enable the delivery of equitable and transformative healthcare solutions.â€ť
About the National Institute for Health Innovation
At NIHI, we measure our success by our contribution to improving peopleâ€™s health in New Zealand and around the globe. We discover, develop, test and deliver innovative approaches to todayâ€™s most pressing health problems. Our work is focused on preventing disease, improving peopleâ€™s health, reducing health inequities and enabling the delivery of more effective and equitable healthcare. We provide independent scientific evidence that supports individuals, communities, clinicians and policymakers.
Supported by University of ĐÓ°ÉAPPand UniServices infrastructures, we are experts in providing researchers with complex project management, IT, data management and analytics support, delivery of commercial health projects and commercialisation/ deployment of health initiatives. Our team consists of academic researchers who identify areas of potential research, design studies and analyse and communicate the results; project managers who ensure projects are delivered on time, scope and budget; developers who build and maintain our products; data managers who are responsible for reporting and data; and biostatisticians who help us analyse the data we collect.
Vanessa Ding, General Manager, National Institute for Health Innovation
Karen Kawawada, Communications Manager, UniServices