Singh, Bruce S

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Bruce Singh became Foundation Chair of Psychological Medicine at Monash University and the Royal Park and Alfred Hospitals in Melbourne in 1984.

Born in Sydney in 1946, Bruce studied Medicine at the University of Sydney. After graduating in 1968, he completed his Residency at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, continuing as a Medical Registrar and Psychiatric Registrar until 1975. He then became a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Travelling Fellow in the Clinical Sciences and from 1975 to 1978, was based at the University of Rochester, New York, the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital in London, and at the University of Sydney.

In 1978, Bruce was appointed Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle where he remained until 1984, when he became Foundation Chair of Psychological Medicine at Monash University and the Royal Park and Alfred Hospitals in Melbourne. In subsequent years, Bruce worked as Co-Director of the Master of Psychological Medicine program at Monash University, also playing a role in the development if the new medical curriculum at the University of Newcastle.

In 1991, he took up an appointment as the second Cato Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. In this role, Bruce is Head of the Department of Psychiatry and has considerably expanded the academic activities of the Department, which extend across three Clinical Schools and ORYGEN Youth Health, with a strong emphasis on links with the public psychiatric service system. Bruce has developed Professorial positions at both the major private psychiatric hospitals in Melbourne, the Melbourne Clinic and the Albert Road Clinic, and additional Professorial appointments at Barwon Health and in the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.

Bruce directs the Master of Medicine (Psychiatry) Program and the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Sciences, and is Chair of the Human Mind and Behaviour stream of the new undergraduate curriculum at the University of Melbourne. In 1996, he was appointed Associate Dean (International), a position which he still holds, responsible for international matters in the Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, including the establishment of the Australian International Health Institute of the University of Melbourne. As Assistant Dean from 1997 to 2000, he was responsible for the North Western Health Care Network.

The main thrust of Bruce’s research activities has been in the area of schizophrenia, and his major achievement, together with D Copolov, Director of the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, was the establishment of the NHMRC Schizophrenia Research Unit, which he co-directed from 1988 to 1996. His other areas of research include early onset psychosis, psychiatric rehabilitation, psychiatric aspects of disasters, rehabilitation in physical illness, and care-giving in the community.

Throughout his career, Bruce has been a Consultant for both the state and federal governments: He was Consultant to the Commonwealth Department of Health for Evaluation of New Drugs from 1982 to 1990, and Chief Policy Adviser for the Office of Psychiatric Services in the Health Department of Victoria from 1988 to 1992, active in developing the first National Mental Health Policy. He was Senior Medical Adviser to the Mental Health Branch of the Department of Human Services in Victoria from 2001 to 2004. Bruce was a Member of the Grants Committee of the NHMRC from 1991 to 1996 and has been a Member of and Chairman of Regional Grants Interviewing Committees on many occasions. He is an active Member of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and was a Censor from 1980–88. He was Chairman of the Fellowships Board and Committee for Examinations and Member of the College Executive from 1988 to 1994. He served on the Community and Research Committees of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation from its inception in 1990 until 2000.

Bruce was Director of Psychiatric Services at the Royal Melbourne Hospital until 1995, when he was appointed Clinical Director of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Psychiatry Clinical Business Unit, which incorporated the Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital. In 1996, Bruce became Clinical Director of North Western Mental Health, comprising Adult, Aged and Adolescent Mental Health Programs, which service a population of one million people in the northwest of Melbourne.

Bruce has written extensively on Psychiatry, having published more than 120 papers and co-edited five books: The Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry Textbook (published 1994 and revised in 2001), Understanding Troubled Minds (1997), Family Caregiver (1998), and Mental Health in Australia (2001).

Bruce has had a longstanding commitment and interest in psychiatric services, particularly their incorporation into the General Health System. He is also active in promoting Psychiatry in the Asia Pacific Region, and was the President of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists from 2001 to 2004. In 2003, he was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for his services to medicine.

Citation: Mellor, Lise (2008) Singh, Bruce S. Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive, University of Sydney.

An alternate version appears in: Mellor, L. 150 Years, 150 Firsts: The People of the Faculty of Medicine (2006) Sydney, Sydney University Press.