Member profile: Associate Professor Jeffrey Looi

Meet Associate Professor Jeffrey Looi who has recently taken over as Editor-in-Chief of the College journal, Australasian Psychiatry.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional journey to date.

I’m a clinical academic psychiatrist. I work as a clinician two days per week, in old age psychiatry, neuropsychiatry and general adult psychiatry. I also lead a talented university team that conducts a range of clinical, epidemiologic, health service and neuroscientific research. Our team has led psychiatry and addiction teaching for medical and research students since the foundation of the now Australian National University School of Medicine and Psychology, in Canberra.

2. What other College roles have you held previously? 

I first volunteered for the College not long after my Fellowship, when I was appointed to the then Board of Research, which became the Committee of Research, through which came the current Research Foundation and Scholarship program. Most recently, after service in other roles, ranging from General Councilor, to CPD Committee Deputy Chair, and some other points in-between, I volunteered with the Section of Private Practice Psychiatry. I have twice been a candidate for the President of the RANZCP, and fortunately, I have now been selected in this new role as Editor of Australasian Psychiatry.

3. What made you want to become the Editor of Australasian Psychiatry

Many College members and trainees comment that Australasian Psychiatry is their go-to journal for clinical practice updates and evidence-based science, since it focuses on the art and science of psychiatry. The Editor position brings the opportunity to share and promote our profession, as well as to showcase the art and science, and provide an environment to reflect on, discuss and promote excellence in clinical practice.

4. Tell us about the role of Australasian Psychiatry within the College and for our members?

Over the past 10 years, Professor Vlasios Brakoulias has worked with his team to transform the journal, and our new editorial team plans to expand the opportunities for education, science and discourse. It’s very exciting to work with a burgeoning editorial team to bring new opportunities for the membership, readers, writers and reviewers. Australasian Psychiatry educates, informs and inspires the excellence of care we provide our patients and communities.

5. What are you hoping to achieve as Editor over the next 5 years? 

Our new editorial team is aiming to extend the breadth and depth of research and scholarly discourse on clinical practice and related issues. We have in mind a range of new paper formats that will enhance the opportunities for members at all levels, and the broader scientific community, to debate, discuss and research the art and science of psychiatry. An integral aim, from my end, is to mentor trainees and psychiatrists within the editorial team and a renewed editorial committee in order to assure the future of the journal and the scholarship it embodies.

6. It’s a big year for you as you’re also Co-Convenor of the RANZCP 2024 Congress. What excites you most about this event? 

The first (then) ANZCP Congress was held in Canberra in 1964, so it’s the 60th anniversary of the Congress. It’s a tremendous opportunity for trainees and psychiatrists to learn and be inspired by the clinical insights and research findings that our peers have submitted to a very full scientific program. After the challenging years of the pandemic, it is a great environment to meet, discuss, and share the art and science of psychiatry. We’ve a great range of keynote speakers, clinical updates, thought-provoking research and themes that reflect the range and expertise of the profession.

7. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

It will likely be no surprise that I am interested in reading and learning across all the range of humanities, social and medical sciences that can inform psychiatric practice. Of course, I also enjoy writing professionally and hope to return to writing publishable essays or fiction. I have had short stories published in the local newspaper in the last century; and as part of a writer’s collective, a self-published short story collection which has, based on evaluation of my contributions to the collection, been distributed to a secure storage facility.


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