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Karen Zelas

President 1989–1991

Dr Karen Zelas is a retired child and adolescent psychiatrist and adult psychotherapist from Christchurch, New Zealand. She was Director of Whakatata House, the North Canterbury Hospital Board’s outpatient service for children and families, and later in private practice.

Karen was New Zealand representative on Council and then the College Executive Committee from 1985–1993, being President from 1989–1991. As President, she represented the College on the Council of Medical Colleges (Australia). Following her presidency, Karen continued to serve the College as a member of the RANZCP’s Ethics Committee (1991–1998) and Board of Practice Standards (1991–1998).

Through the 1980s and 1990s, she was the College representative to the Assembly of the New Zealand Medical Association, on the NZMA Ethics Committee (2000–2004) and the NZMA Specialists’ Committee (1993–2000). She was also a representative on the Council of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) from 1990–1996.

From 1997–2002, Karen was a member of the Council of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and Honorary Secretary from 1998–2002. As a member of the Admissions Committee she participated in formalising the admission standards and assessment processes for membership of NZAP, and as Chair of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee undertook the revision of the Code of Ethics.

In 1989, Karen gave the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Julian Katz Oration, and in 1993 she received a College Citation for her special service to the College and the profession.

Since retirement, Karen has pursued a new career as a writer of fiction and poetry. Her publications are detailed on her website