Lifelong learning with Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

15 February 2024
Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Hons) (2005), Global Executive Master of Business Administration (2021)
A passion for social justice led Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu naturally towards medicine. Her desire to pursue even bigger goals was the catalyst to undertake a Global Executive MBA.
Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu’s first experience studying at the University of Sydney was in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program* where she went on to specialise in infectious diseases. This qualification saw her at the forefront of two major health crises.

“My trauma and loss experiences in the HIV pandemic and again in the COVID pandemic reminded me of how important it is to address structural inequities to deliver wellbeing," says Kudzai.

Kudzai aspires to have a portfolio career that taps into her multiple areas of interest and diverse skillset. In her longstanding commitment to global public health, equitable health outcomes, and health service improvement, Kudzai realised she needed to advance her skills.

It is this mindset that ultimately led her to undertake the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) and be awarded a UN Women Australia MBA Scholarship at the Business School.

I celebrate the prospect that an MBA can provide new skills with which to advocate for social justice. To continue the fight for women’s self-determination and ensure the flow of money and power is equitably distributed. Not only to women but for people across the gender diversity spectrum.
Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

Never stop learning

The GEMBA was designed with people like Kudzai in mind, who want to address multifaceted problems, like driving change in the healthcare landscape.

“The program gave me the tools to view the problems I was seeing in healthcare through a new lens and allowed me to focus on addressing overarching issues," says Kudzai.

An enduring memory for Kudzai of her time in the GEMBA program is the bond she formed with the other students. “We worked incredibly hard during the international modules but made time to care for each other," she says.

"This translates so well into the modern workplace. It makes you a better teammate and allows you to sustain the level of self-care and humility it takes to do good work.”

The international modules are a cornerstone of the GEMBA program which can be undertaken in various locations across Australia, Europe, the United States and Asia. In Kudzai’s case, she was able to travel to Singapore and the United States as part of the program. She sees opportunities to learn in every situation.

“All learning is like writing yourself a blank cheque," she says. "I’ve learnt to take stock of every career situation and start thinking, reflecting and being consciously grateful about where it might one day lead.”

I appreciated the honesty and integrity of the University of Sydney team for grounding my GEMBA experience in continuous learning. As we say in Shona, my first language ‘kudzidza hakuperi’ - we never stop learning.
Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

The future of healthcare

Kudzai’s lifelong learning has led her to great professional heights, where she now works as an infectious disease specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as well as Dean of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, she has seen many changes happen in the Australian healthcare sector. However, there is still much to be done and Kudzai is at the forefront of identifying and solving these issues.

“Our inability to focus on prevention is our greatest downfall. We are seemingly obsessed with disaster recovery healthcare but seldom invest the time and effort it takes to prevent ill health or support good health," she says. "At the clinical interface, there is immense value to be gained through advanced clinical decision support systems."

For Kudzai, this can be helped by strengthening the links between healthcare professionals and the rapidly emerging and intersecting technologies. "[It's about] building the partnership between human workers and machines to reduce administrative burden," she explains. "[To] detect disease and provide better personalised, evidence informed and consistent care."

Through my life experience, and my studies at the University of Sydney, I’ve gained the tools and experience to have an impact in an area I’m really passionate about.
Associate Professor Kudzai Kanhutu

*The Doctor of Medicine (MD) replaced the University of Sydney’s previously offered Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 2014.

Related articles