Professor Emeritus Bruce Singh AM

Citation for the Award of Doctor of Medical Science (Honoris Causa)

Professor Emeritus Bruce Singh arrived at the University of Melbourne in 1991 to take up the Cato Chair of Psychiatry with an already impressive reputation in the teaching, research and practice of psychiatric medicine that included seven years as Professor of Psychological Medicine at Monash University. He was involved in the implementation of the first medical problem based learning curriculum while at the University of Newcastle in the late 1970s and early ‘80s which established a synthesis of teaching and learning and clinical practice that has infused subsequent developments in medical education across the country.

His expansion of the University of Melbourne Department of Psychiatry, as Cato Chair, and leadership of the discipline in Australia, have been signally important to the development of sub-specialty research programs and improved services for psychiatric patients. These have included developing three professorial positions at major private Melbourne psychiatric hospitals and eight additional professorial appointments to underpin important research in areas such as post-traumatic health, neuropsychiatry, old age psychiatry and women’s mental health. With an enviable record of securing grants and funding for research, Bruce Singh’s research contributions, particularly into schizophrenia, have earned him an eminent international reputation. His role, with Professor David Copolov, in the establishment of the NHMRC Schizophrenia Research Unit, laid the foundation for the creation of ORYGEN Research Centre and Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre. 

Wide recognition from governments, professional associations and community organisations for Bruce Singh’s outstanding contributions to mental health policy, research and practice, include the Centenary Medal of Federation and Membership of the Order of Australia, the 25th Anniversary Medal from the Federation of Ethnic Communities, the Indo Australasian Psychiatric Association Award and the Victorian Public Healthcare Award, and international recognition from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) and the American Psychiatric Association.

Bruce Singh’s governance and policy expertise has been long sought by governments, pharmaceutical companies and professional associations, either as a consultant or through committee membership or chairmanship. He has been a consultant to the Medical Board of Victoria since 1984 and chaired many NHMRC regional grants interview committees. The development of mental health policy for Victoria, and the creation of 30 academic positions in multiple higher education institutions across Melbourne, owes much to his many years as Chief Policy Advisor on Mental Health to the Victorian Department of Human Services and to the Minister for Health.

The co-editor of five books, he is currently working on a history of psychiatry in Victoria with historian Ann Westmore and has been a contributing or sole author to a long list of book chapters, journal and conference papers and book reviews. He also acts as reviewer for a wide range of international journals.

As Associate Dean (International) for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Bruce Singh played a pivotal role in the establishment of both the Australian International Health Institute and the Nossal Institute for Global Health. His involvement, as Assistant Vice-Chancellor (MDHS Projects), on the development of a long list of shared projects that form a nexus between the Faculty and its research, teaching and clinical partners has been instrumental in the maturation of these important relationships.