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Bhugra is president-elect of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

NOVEMBER 27, 2007

Professor Dinesh Bhugra of the Institute of Psychiatry, at King's,  has been elected unopposed as the next President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and will begin his term of office during the College’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2 July 2008. 

He was nominated by the Central Executive Committee of the College for the Office of President at their meeting on 12 September 2007.

Professor Bhugra is Professor of Mental Health and Cultural Diversity at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, and Honorary Consultant at the South London and Maudsley Trust. He has been Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 2003.

His research interests include professionalism in psychiatry, decision-making by psychiatrists, depression, schizophrenia, pathways into psychiatric care, deliberate self-harm, primary care, cross-cultural psychiatry, spirituality, psychosexual medicine and diversity.

Professor Bhugra has published widely, including books on cultural psychiatry, management, and religion and psychiatry. In 2006, after receiving a Wellcome Trust grant, he wrote a book entitled ‘Mad Tales from Bollywood: Portrayal of Mental Illness in Conventional Hindi Cinema’.

Professor Bhugra has been active in the College since 1985, and has chaired the Collegiate Trainees Committee (1987); the Overseas Doctors Training Committee (1996-present); and the Faculty of General and Community Psychiatry (1997-2001).

“It is an honour and a privilege to be elected to the Presidency of the Royal College of Psychiatrists,” said Prof. Bhugra. “I am particularly pleased to have received such overwhelming support from the members and fellows of the College.

“From my arrival in Cork nearly three decades ago, my journey through clinical and academic services in Leicester, Eastbourne, Guy’s and the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley in London has been thoroughly enjoyable. 

“My medical training was at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune in India, and my psychiatric training here in the UK.  After gaining clinical experience, I have devoted much time to training.  As a result, the links between service development, standards of healthcare delivery and research have been my passion.

“I believe that the profession of psychiatry must be at the core of all medical care, ensuring that psychiatrists meet the mental health needs of all patients.  The medical profession is at a crossroads, with serious threats to professionalism. 

“The role and identity of psychiatrists must be strengthened, and the College must take a lead in defining professionalism for the 21st century.  Most importantly, maintaining good standards for delivery of psychiatric services, and aspiring to top quality services that psychiatrists themselves will be willing to use, is the paramount challenge for the profession. 

“I will work with key stakeholders to achieve this, including patients, carers, mental health professionals, the voluntary sector, and primary care.”

Professor Bhugra’s priorities are to:
1. review psychiatry’s contract with society through a re-evaluation of professionalism;
2. ensure that the College is relevant to its members by rewarding excellence, consultation and participation, and raising standards for practice and services;
3. support and represent the membership and trainees through changing times;
4. build stronger links with stakeholders;
5. build on existing links with the international community.
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