ANU appoints Director of the new School of Medicine and Psychology

Publication date
Friday, 18 Mar 2022

The Australian National University announces Professor Paul Fitzgerald as the inaugural Director of its new School of Medicine and Psychology.

The new School will bring together the ANU Medical School and the Research School of Psychology, championing the indivisibility and interdependence of the body and mind, of physical health and mental health, and of the sciences of the human condition, human experience and human behaviour.

Professor Fitzgerald is a celebrated clinical and research leader. A qualified psychiatrist with a medical degree, a master’s degree in psychological medicine, and a PhD, he is currently Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University and Founding Director of the Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health.

He helped build a thriving Department of Psychiatry within Monash at the Alfred, with close to 150 staff and postgraduate students, and has created a centre of research excellence in the private sector at the Epworth Hospital.

Professor Fitzgerald’s main clinical and academic interests are in the development, evaluation and clinical translation of new therapies for mental health conditions. He has conducted numerous experimental studies and over 20 clinical trials of a range of novel brain stimulation and pharmacological interventions to improve treatment options for patients with depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. He has published over 500 journal articles, been cited over 35,000 times, received over $20 million dollars in grant funding from NHMRC, MRFF and other funders, and has held four 5-year NHMRC Practitioner and Investigator Fellowships.

In addition to his clinical and research expertise, Professor Fitzgerald has extensive experience with government and industry stakeholders, particularly in relation to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), magnetic seizure therapy and deep brain stimulation, in which he is acknowledged as a global leader. He established the first TMS training program in Australia, and was responsible for enabling access to TMS for patients with depression through its inclusion on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. He is a founder and board member of a medical device start-up, Resonance Therapeutics, which is commercialising patented IP developed by his team; a founder and board member of TMS Clinics Australia, a company with 22 clinics nationwide; and a board member of the innovative mental health charity, The United Project.

Dean of the ANU College of Health and Medicine, Professor Russell Gruen, said "As we take bold steps to build bridges between medicine and psychology, to champion discovery and translational sciences, and to strengthen academic engagement with public and private sector partners, it’s hard to imagine anyone better suited than Professor Fitzgerald.

"I am confident that, with his leadership, our researchers will achieve even greater heights, and our teachers will be champions of research-led education, for which ANU is globally-recognised. He also brings a calm collaborative leadership style, and I look forward to working with him and the medical and psychology communities to ensure the new school flourishes and succeeds in charting new directions in health and wellbeing.”
Professor Fitzgerald has also been appointed as a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Canberra Health Services.

"It is great to have Paul join the Canberra Health Services team." said CEO Dave Peffer.

"He will bring a wealth of valuable experience to the organisation. His appointment will assist in further strengthening our collaborative partnership with ANU and help build upon our recently launched CHS Research Strategy".

Professor Fitzgerald will commence at ANU in early May when he will assume the process of designing and implementing the new School of Medicine and Psychology. The current ANU Medical School and Research School of Psychology will continue to operate under Directors Professor Zsuzsoka Kecskes and Professor Bruce Christensen, respectively, until the integration of the new school later in 2022.