Monday, 23 March 2015

Foundation Professor of Aged Psychiatry at Monash retires

Emeritus Prof Graeme Smith, Prof Daniel O'Connor
and Prof David Kissane at the celebration
After 24 years as Foundation Professor of Aged Psychiatry at Monash University, Daniel O'Connor’s sterling career—and retirement—were celebrated at an afternoon tea last week at Kingston Centre.

Since 1990, Professor O’Connor has been Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Director of the Aged Mental Health Research Unit at Monash University and Clinical Head, Aged Person’s Mental Health Service at Monash Health.

“Professor O’Connor’s academic career has generated nearly 8 million dollars of competitive research funding, over 140 publications and supervision of 8 students who have completed their doctorates,” said Professor David Kissane, Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

Highlights of Professor O’Connor’s career include early validation work on the Cambridge Mental Disorders of the Elderly Examination (CAMDEX), an early validation of Folstein’s mini mental state examination in the elderly, prevalence studies of dementia as a disorder, many papers on the behavioural, psychological and pharmacological management issues in treating patients with dementia, and related studies about the interface of depression with dementia in the elderly. 

“His scholarship has been stellar, simply outstanding, and laid a clear foundation for the development of guidelines about the care of cognitively impaired elders within our community,” added Professor Kissane.

Educationally, Professor O’Connor has made significant contributions to the training and development of Old Age Psychiatrists in Australia and was Chair of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists from 2007 to 2009.  He supported the development of over a 140 new psychiatric training posts in Australia. 

“As an institutional citizen, Professor O’Connor has given much time to Monash University and Monash Health, to his College, to the International Psychogeriatric Association, to the Mental Health Tribunal, the Psychosurgery Review Board, Rural Psychiatric Training program, and regionally, for example, as an educator of Malaysia’s old age psychiatrists,” said Professor Kissane. 

“We thank Professor O’Connor deeply for the generous and willing commitment that he has given to his institutions, colleagues, trainees and importantly patients and their families throughout his 25 years’ of dedicated service.”  

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