Congratulations to Dr Kah Shen (Carlson) Loke!

Dr Kah Shen (Carlson) Loke was recently awarded the 2023 NSW Branch Meritorious Service Award. He is recognized by peers and the mental health sector for his humanistic and holistic care of patients, especially the most disadvantaged. His long career features a commitment to the disadvantaged and those in most need. Notably, his time at St Vincent’s coincided with the AIDS pandemic, devastating the gay community of inner Sydney. He was instrumental in developing sophisticated cultural and psychological understandings during this time which greatly assisted patients, and his colleagues and trainees, as we negotiated this unprecedented disaster.

Two bodies of his work are significant legacies from this period:

  • a dissertation examining suicide and self-harm amongst gay men. The study co-authored by Neil Buhrich, was a first and was published internationally in 1988.
  • establishment of outreach clinics for the homeless from the mid 1980s, where he worked pro-bono for over a decade.

Dr Loke began his diverse private practice in 1990, taking on ‘all-comers’, practicing intensive, sophisticated psychotherapy, providing depot antipsychotics, and visiting boarding houses. Colleagues who referred patients to him felt that their patient had won the lottery, as they would receive the highest levels of professional and compassionate care. His partner perhaps put it best and said, “he has been, without judgement, a lifeline and rock to so many throughout his working years”.

Dr Loke is truly an unsung champion of our profession. His sustained and distinguished service, and his outstanding contribution to the practice of psychiatry, will be recognised and celebrated at the annual NSW Branch Conference to be held at Rydges Resort, Hunter Valley over the weekend of 3–5 November.