Joanne is a public health medicine specialist with research interests in Māori health workforce development, Māori mental health, Māori child and youth health, hazardous drinking among tertiary students and health inequalities.
Joanne has current research collaborations with the Injury Prevention Research Unit (Hazardous drinking project) and the New Zealand Mental Health Epidemiology Survey team.
She is also the Theme Leader for Māori Health in the Dunedin longitudinal study, a multidisciplinary, longitudinal study of 1,037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972–3. The Study members have been followed up since birth, at age three, then every two years to age 15, at ages 18, 21 and 26, and most recently at age 32. Her involvement with the Study began at the age 32 assessments when she led the New Zealand Society, Identity and Health aspects of the study
Joanne has two key positions in the University of Otago: within the Dunedin School of Medicine she is the Associate Dean (Māori) and Associate Professor of Māori Health; within the Division of Health Sciences she is the Associate Dean (Māori) for the Division and also the Director of the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit.