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Dr Paola Dazzan named Academic Psychiatrist of the Year 2014

Dr Paola Dazzan from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, has been named Psychiatric Academic Researcher of the Year 2014 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists at the RCPsych Awards 2014.  Other award winners included King’s student and member of the King’s Psychiatry Society Celia Shiles who won Medical Student of the Year 2014; and South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust’s Dr Roxanne Keynejad who won Foundation Doctor of the Year 2014 

The annual RCPsych Awards mark the highest level of achievement within psychiatry, and are designed to recognise and reward excellent practice in the field of mental health.

Paola was presented with her award by Professor Peter Woodruff, Chair of the Faculty of Academic Psychiatry, at a prestigious ceremony held at the College on 6 November. 

Competition for the RCPsych Awards is extremely tough and the judging panels were impressed by the quality of this year’s entries. The judges said: “Dr Dazzan combines a keen sense of scientific rigour and clinical relevance, which puts her at the forefront of translational researchers. She has maintained a strong emphasis on fostering the next generations of clinicians and researchers.”

“Dr Dazzan’s leadership position in the scientific community is exemplified by her election to the Senior Management Board of NIHR SLaM/IoPPN’s Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, the Executive Committee of the Academic Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Board of Directors of the Schizophrenia International Research Society.”

“Taken together, these achievements make her a compelling choice for the Academic of the Year Award.”

Dr Dazzan’s research focuses on psychosis, with an emphasis on biomarkers that have clinical relevance. She has an excellent record of disseminating knowledge to the scientific community and the lay public. She is a keen teacher with a strong commitment to fostering the next generation of psychiatrists.

Dr Dazzan says: “I am delighted to receive this prestigious award. It is an honour to be recognised by my peers, and I especially thank the judges and those who nominated me and applaud those also shortlisted for this category. I strongly believe that neurobiological clinical research always needs to remain focused on our ultimate goal, which is to improve the care and the future of those individuals affected by severe mental health disorders such as psychosis. I believe this award recognises the importance that we continue along this path with ever more vigour and enthusiasm.”

Professor Shitij Kapur, Executive Dean and Head of IoPPN said:  “I am delighted indeed that this award recognises Paola’s significant contribution to academic psychiatry research.  Paola is someone who is risen to prominence from within – engages in research, clinical care and education. As such she is an inspiration to colleagues and students alike, and a testimony to the possibilities at the Institute. I hope you will join me in congratulating her on this great achievement.”

King’s/SLaM staff/students were nominated in seven out of the 18 categories in the RCPsych Awards 2014.  Other nominations included:  Dr Fiona Gaughran, Psychiatric Trainer of the Year; Dr Sukhi Shergill Psychiatric Academic Researcher of the Year 2014; Bridget jones and Matthew Mckenzie Carer Contributor of the Year 2014;  Dr Sarah Bernard Psychiatrist of the Year 2014; and Dr Alex Langford.  Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year 2014.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president, Royal College of Psychiatrists congratulated the shortlisted individuals and teams. “I know everyone always says that being shortlisted is an achievement in itself, but it’s true,” he says.

Nominations for the RCPsych Awards 2015 will open in February.