Mental health is a National Health Priority Area and a strategic priority for NHMRC research programs. The Mental Health Research Advisory Committee was established to advise our CEO on mental health research needs and initiatives to ensure that NHMRC’s investment in mental health research is designed and targeted appropriately.
Mental health is a National Health Priority Area and a strategic priority for NHMRC research programs.
The Mental Health Research Advisory Committee was established to advise NHMRC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on mental health research needs and initiatives to ensure that NHMRC’s investment in mental health research is designed and targeted appropriately.
The functions of MHRAC were to:
- as required, provide expert advice to NHMRC’s CEO on NHMRC’s investment in mental health research, including the development of priority-driven research initiatives, that is consistent with:
- directions and recommendations of Research Committee and other NHMRC committees
- NHMRC’s Framework for the Identification and Prioritisation of Targeted Calls for Research, and
- NHMRC’s strategy for addressing the major health issues, including the National Health Priority Area of mental health, as set out in NHMRC’s current Corporate Plan.
- identify significant knowledge gaps and emerging issues in mental health, and advise on research needs in this area, including in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and
- perform other tasks as directed by the NHMRC’s CEO.
MHRAC met on five occasions between September 2017 and October 2018.
NHMRC acknowledges the knowledge and expertise of MHRAC members in their areas of clinical practice, public health, health services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and consumer issues.
Professor Jane Gunn (MBBS, DRANZCOG, FRACGP, FAHMS, PhD) is Professor and Foundation Chair of Primary Care Research at The University of Melbourne. She also holds an honorary Professorial appointment at the University of Glasgow. Professor Gunn serves as a Board Director of the Eastern Melbourne PHN and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Hospital. She served on the NHMRC Research Committee from 2009 – 2015 and chaired a wide variety of related review panels. Professor Gunn has made major contributions to mental health research including documenting the natural history of depression in general practice as well as developing and testing interventions. She has published more than 160 scholarly works and is currently a co-lead on the evaluation of the Primary Health Network Mental Health Reform Lead Site Project for the Australian Government.
Professor John McGrath is a psychiatrist interested in discovering the causes of serious mental disorders. He is the Director of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and conjoint Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. His research aims to generate and evaluate non-genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. He has forged productive cross-disciplinary collaborations linking risk factor epidemiology with developmental neurobiology. In addition, Professor McGrath has supervised major systematic reviews of the epidemiology of schizophrenia. He was awarded a John Cade Fellowship by the NHMRC. In 2016, he was also awarded a Niels Bohr Professorship by the Danish National Research Foundation.
Professor Philip Mitchell (AM, FAHMS, FASSA, MB BS (Hons I), MD, FRANZCP, FRCPsych) is Scientia Professor and Head of the School of Psychiatry at University of New South Wales; Vice-President (Governance), International Society for Bipolar Disorders; Member, Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Code Review Committee; Board Member, Anika Foundation for Adolescent Depression and Suicide; and Chair and Board Member, Bipolar Australia.
His research and clinical interests are in bipolar disorder and depression. Professor Mitchell has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers, books or book chapters and serves on the editorial boards of Psychiatric Genetics, CNS Drugs, CNS Spectrums, Frontiers in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics, Future Neurology, International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, Journal of Affective Disorders, Medicine Today and Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.
In the 2010 Australia Day honours list, Professor Mitchell was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to medical education. In 2013, he was awarded the College Citation of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists for exceptional service to psychiatry. In 2015, he was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2017, he was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberly area in Western Australia. She is a psychologist and Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. She is a Professor and Poche Research Fellow at the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Western Australia. Her area of research includes Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention. Amongst her many commitments, she is a former Commissioner of the Australian National Mental Health Commission (completed 5 year term July 2017), deputy chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association, chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leaders Mental Health, co-chair of the ministerial Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, and member of the NHMRC Mental Health Research Advisory Committee.
Professor Dudgeon is the Project Director of the National Empowerment Project: an Indigenous suicide prevention project working with eleven sites in Aboriginal communities across the country, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project and the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention.
Professor Cherrie Galletly MBChB, DPM, FRANZCP, PhD is committed to research to improve the lives of people with severe mental illness. She has undertaken extensive research into schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. She led the writing of new Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Schizophrenia and Related Disorders. She is also involved in service development and research using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for treatment resistant depression. She has held NHMRC and ARC grants, and published more than 160 papers in the peer reviewed literature.
She is an Associate Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. She provides higher degree supervision, RANZCP postgraduate psychiatry training, and medical student education. She is Course Advisor for the final year of the University of Adelaide Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program. She is affiliated with The University of Adelaide, Ramsay Health Care (SA) Mental Health, and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.
Professor Jane Pirkis is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. She holds an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, which is funding a program of work on effective suicide prevention interventions. She has worked in the suicide prevention field for around 20 years and is perhaps best known for her work on suicide and the media and for her large-scale evaluations of national suicide prevention and mental health programs (e.g., the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, beyondblue, the Better Access program, and the Access to Allied Psychological Services program).
She is Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2017, she was awarded the University of Tasmania’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Professor Gary Robinson is Director of the Centre for Child Development and Education at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. He leads the centre’s Indigenous parenting and family research and suicide prevention research programs. His parenting research includes the development and evaluation of preventative school-based early intervention programs for Aboriginal parents and their preschool- and primary school aged children. His research into deliberate self-harm and suicide among Northern Territory (NT) youth builds on research commissioned by the Northern Territory’s multi-agency Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee into the suicide deaths of NT children.
He was commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing to lead national consultations into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention and was lead author of the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (2013). He is a consortium partner of the National Centre for Best Practice in ATSI Suicide Prevention based at the University of Western Australia. He leads the Skills for Life project, an NHMRC funded investigation of the outcomes of a preventative social and emotional learning curriculum developed for remote Aboriginal students from years 7-10 and implemented in five NT middle and secondary schools.
Mr Bradley Foxlewin (Social Ecology-Major: Organisational Change, Cert. IV in Training and Assessment, Diploma: Community Studies (Welfare) with Honours, Diploma: Community Services (Mental Health)) is an independent Mental Health Consumer Consultant, member and past Chair of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Mental Health Consumer Network, and inaugural Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales.
Mr Foxlewin works as a trainer, group-worker, consultant and researcher, all from a consumer-first position. He has a deep and abiding interest in issues affecting consumers of mental health services and survivors of childhood abuse and a strong commitment to partnerships across mental health settings that support better outcomes for consumers and those who care about consumers. He has previously worked, over a period of 20 years, as a manager in community services, a counsellor for young men who have survived sexual abuse as children and he has had significant input into the development of men’s services in the ACT.
Mr Foxlewin has also conducted research on reducing seclusion and restraint in acute mental health in the ACT.
Professor Philip Boyce is Professor and Head of the Discipline of Psychiatry University of Sydney and Head of the Perinatal Psychiatry Clinical Research Unit at Westmead Hospital. His current research and clinical focus is into the impact of psychotic disorders on women over the perinatal period and predictors of bipolar relapse following childbirth. He also has a research interest in mood disorders, and is currently on an NHMRC grant examining the connectome in bipolar disorder.
He was a member of the working group that developed the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Mood Disorders and the Clinical Practice Guideline for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.
Professor Boyce is co-author of the 4th edition of Fast Facts: Depression published in 2017, along with over 200 other publications and is an associate editor of the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
He was a former President of the RANZCP and he was awarded the RANZCP’s medal of honour in 2016.