McFarlane wins Robert Laufer Award

Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Professor Sandy McFarlane, a leader in the field of traumatic stress, is the most recent recipient of the Robert Laufer Award.

Currently head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide and based at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Professor McFarlane is recognised as an international expert in the field of post traumatic stress disorder. He is a Past President of both the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

The award is presented by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of post traumatic stress disorder.

The International Society is the academic organization that is the scientific forum for the field of traumatic stress and post traumatic disorder. This represents the community involved in investigating the impact of disasters, the impact of war on veterans and civilians, as well as a range of civilian traumas, including motor vehicle accidents and childhood abuse.

In the citation read at the presentation of the award, Professor McFarlane was described as an "excellent researcher and also a pioneer, leader, teacher and clinician; in short, a leader in the field".

A delighted Professor McFarlane says his research covers a range of areas.

"Firstly, in conjunction with Associate Professor Richard Clark at Flinders University, I have been the first to investigate the working memory deficits associated with post traumatic stress disorder, using a variety of neuroimaging techniques.

"This body of research has led to a new conceptualisation of what the fundamental neurobiological disorder is in post traumatic stress disorder," he says.

"Secondly, my epidemiological research has involved a range of events, including the Ash Wednesday bushfires. This body of research is still widely cited in the disaster field and is recognised as having a major contribution to understanding risk factors as well as the longitudinal course of psychiatric morbidity after these events.

"This has led to the development of a range of strategies for addressing the public health needs of populations after these events," Professor McFarlane says.

He is currently the Senior Advisor in Psychiatry to the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.

He is an advisor to the Department of Veterans' Affairs on a scientific investigation of Gulf War Syndrome; has acted as an advisor to many groups in post disaster situations, including the Kuwait Government, and the United Nations; and has lectured and run workshops in Europe, United States of America, Asia and South Africa.


Contact Details

Professor Sandy McFarlane
Professor and Head Department of Psychiatry
University of Adelaide
Mobile: 0419 810 962

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084