University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine Psychological Medicine

Department of Psychological Medicine

The Department of Psychological Medicine was established in 1964, confirming the longstanding focus on psychological medicine that the Faculty of Medicine has developed since its establishment in Dunedin in 1877.

It aims to advance psychological medicine, both nationally and internationally, through a commitment to excellence in teaching, research and clinical leadership within the areas of psychiatry and behavioural science. The Department brings together its academic and clinical expertise to enhance the quality of mental and physical health service delivery, at both the clinical and the community level.

The Department consists of two main units: clinical psychiatry and behavioural science. Both are involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to health professionals, including medical students, psychiatric and general practice registrars, postgraduate psychologists and various higher education postgraduate training programmes. The Department plays a key role in the delivery of an academic component to the RANZCP and DHB psychiatry training programme, and is actively involved in the supervision of master's and PhD level research degrees.

Both units are also involved in a variety of clinically relevant research areas, including self-harm and suicide, delusions, schizophrenia, community mental health epidemiology, anxiety and depression, substance misuse and addictions, sexual health and HIV, primary care interventions, communication and consultation skills, gender, religion and mental health, cognitive processes, behavioural aspects of physical health, child abuse, exploration of developmentally appropriate techniques for gathering information from children, and child therapies.

The Department has good working relationships with many health agencies, including the Southern DHB Mental Health Services, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, and the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago. It also has close ties with a number of key professional organisations, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the NZ College of Clinical Psychology, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (the Addiction Chapter), New Zealand Psychologists Board and the British Psychological Society.