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May 27, 2016

Leadership and management in Australasian Psychiatry - the Australasian psychiatric fraternity has long provided leadership in understanding the mechanisms, treating the symptoms, and managing the problems associated with mental illness. An early innovator was John Cade, the Australian psychiatrist who first reported the mood stabilising properties of lithium in the late 1940s. The Australasian Psychiatry podcast has interviewed many psychiatric leaders active in our region, from Professor John McGrath constructing a self-perpetuating framework for performing clinical trials while training the next generation of psychiatrist scientists; to Professor Ernest Hunter’s inspiring endeavours to improve mental health care and training for indigenous people in remote Australia and the Pacific Islands; to President-elect of the World Psychiatric Association Helen Herrman’s ambitions to identify, develop, and disseminate knowledge and resources appropriate for improving mental health across all the diverse peoples of the world.

In a wide-ranging interview, Dr O’Connor discusses the need for a new generation of leaders among Australasian psychiatrists, and opportunities for psychiatrists and registrars such as the Leadership Workshops at the College Congress in Hong Kong in May this year. While acknowledging that not every psychiatrist would be interested in pursuing particular leadership roles such as College President, company CEO, or Clinical Director, Dr O’Connor describes the need for many different types of leader in modern mental health, from clinical leadership of individual treating teams, through academic leadership in research and training, to active liaison between the mental health system and other institutions such as government, business, and NGOs.