Dr John Russell was a Foundation Member of the Australasian Association of Psychiatrists (AAP) and was appointed Honorary Psychiatrist at Lewisham Hospital in Sydney. He was then appointed Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, and Senior Psychiatrist in the Repatriation Department, NSW.
He was Demonstrator in Psychiatry, Sydney University, Student Supervisor at Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic and a Foundation Member of the NSW Institute of Psychiatry. Dr Russell retired from the Repatriation Department in 1968 at the age of 65, but remained professionally active doing sessions at the Medical Examination Centre of the NSW Department of Health.
His contributions to the AAP and then the College were significant. After serving on a number of committees he became President in 1961. During his presidential year he helped set up the College Committee and was appointed Chairman. The aim of this Committee (which also included Dr Ian Simpson, Professor David Maddison, and Dr Bruce Peterson) was to devise the first Memorandum and Articles under which the Association could be incorporated as the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Also during his term as President he helped establish the Finance Committee, on which he served as a member for many years, and laid a firm foundation in the College finances for the future Honorary Federal Treasurers.
In addition, over the years Dr Russell developed personal and professional relationships with leading psychiatrists in the UK, USA and South-East Asia, some of whom visited Australia and New Zealand and contributed to early College Congresses. He was a Corresponding Fellow of The Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr Russell was deservedly awarded the College Medal of Honour in 1990, for his distinguished and outstanding service to the College.