INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Medical Director For Asthma And Respiratory Foundation

Published: Wed 1 May 2024 10:17 AM
The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Bob Hancox as Medical Director.
Professor Hancox is a respiratory specialist who combines epidemiological and clinical research to investigate why people develop diseases such as asthma, allergies, and chronic lung disease, then seeks better ways to assess and treat these disorders.
He is a professor of Preventive & Social Medicine at the Dunedin School of Medicine in the University of Otago and a respiratory physician at Waikato Hospital.
Much of Professor Hancox’s research is based on the long-running Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which has followed 1,037 children since their birth in Dunedin in the early 1970s into adult life. Important findings from this research reveal how childhood experiences and lifestyle affect lung health in adulthood.
Professor Hancox has been a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board for many years and was previously Medical Director from 2009 to 2012. As part of his role, he will also become Board Chair.
The Medical Director and Scientific Advisory Board work closely with the Foundation to ensure that it delivers sound, evidence-based respiratory health knowledge. The Board comprises some of New Zealand's leading experts in respiratory health service delivery and research and brings quality assurance and strong credibility to the work of the Foundation.
Professor Hancox says it is an honour to step into the role of Medical Director, once again, for such an important organisation.
"It is an important time for respiratory health.
"Respiratory disease is one of the leading causes of ill health but has sometimes been seen as a lower priority.
"The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted how important it is to look after our lungs.
"In this role, I will continue to support the Foundation’s vital work to empower New Zealanders - both young and old - with the knowledge they need to manage their respiratory conditions effectively."
Foundation Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says Professor Hancox brings a wealth of knowledge to the Medical Director role, a role he has held in the past.
"His expertise will undoubtedly drive us forward on our mission to help 700,000 Kiwis living with respiratory conditions."
Professor Hancox takes over the Medical Director role from Wellington-based respiratory physician Dr James Fingleton, who held the role for three years.
During this time, Dr Fingleton’s achievements included co-authoring the NZ Adolescent and Adult Asthma Guidelines and the NZ COPD Guidelines, providing educational talks and webinars on asthma and COPD, and contributing to numerous resources used by health professionals and patients nationwide.
"Dr Fingleton's tenure as Medical Director has been marked by his invaluable contributions to our guidelines and the flow-on effect to our communities," Ms Harding says.
"We are immensely grateful for his leadership and commitment to improving respiratory health outcomes for all."
While Dr Fingleton is stepping down from the Medical Director role, he will continue to be a valued member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Ms Harding says.
Professor Hancox’s role as the Foundation’s Medical Director begins today (Wednesday 1 May).

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