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Change the world


Nelson Mandela University has appointed Professor Zukiswa Zingela as the new Executive Dean of Health Sciences. 

Prof Zingela is an experienced healthcare practitioner and scholar with international experience and is part of a collaborative scholarly network in Africa and elsewhere.

Prof Zingela has been a medical doctor since late 1995 and qualified as a psychiatrist in 2002. She has worked in both the public and private sectors in South Africa and in the United Kingdom.

Her most recent positions were Associate Professor and Head of Department (Chair) of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Walter Sisulu University and Clinical Head at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha. Her roles included clinical, academic and research responsibilities for mental health services across the Eastern Cape province and strategic leadership to improve mental health services.

Her academic responsibilities included teaching and supervision of undergraduate medical students and postgraduate students in Psychiatry. As a clinician researcher, her areas of work included mental illness and HIV, the use of traditional healers in psychiatry, blueprinting of a medical school for the Eastern Cape, substance use and mental illness and neuropsychiatric conditions such as catatonia, the subject of her PhD research, which is in progress.

Other research projects have included neurogenetic research such as the study of schizophrenia in the Xhosa population and partnering with principal investigators from both national and international institutions such as the University of Cape Town, Makerere University, Moi University, University of Addis Ababa, Harvard University and The Broad Institute.

Other areas of interest have been leadership in the health field and mental health challenges in the workplace with intervention strategies delivered to healthcare workers to support their mental health during the pandemic. Her leadership positions include serving on the Medical and Dental Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and on the International Narcotics Board, a United Nations Body that has monitoring and support functions for member states to implement the three drug conventions that regulate controlled substances.

“Taking over as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, in this season of despair, a year after we lost our previous Dean, Prof Pepeta, to COVID-19, one of my core roles will be to pick up where he left off by ensuring we prepare our students well.

“This we will do by equipping them with practical skills which are based on a sound theoretical framework, to produce innovative and affordable interventions that meet the community’s health needs.

“The focus will also be on imparting essential skills such as health promotion and prevention while strengthening expertise in academic medicine through transdisciplinary learning and research and through building collaborative relationships across educational institutions and partnering with key stakeholders.

“We owe it to ourselves and to all those we have lost to the pandemic to join hands and lead with hope and clarity of vision to propel the Faculty to even greater heights,” said Prof Zingela.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777