New Editor for the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

23 March 2021

The RANZCP is delighted to announce that Victorian Fellow Professor Chris Davey has recently been appointed as the new Editor of the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (ANZJP).

First published in 1967, the ANZJP enjoys a strong international standing and each issue has a total circulation of approximately 16,000. It is one of two scientific journals published by the RANZCP and is the leading psychiatry journal of the Asia-Pacific region.

In June, Professor Davey will succeed Professor Gin Malhi, who has been Editor since 2011.

Professor Davey is the Head of Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and a psychiatrist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Before this, he worked for many years at Orygen, a youth mental health clinical and research program in Melbourne. He is the current chair of the Australasian Society of Bipolar and Depressive Disorders, and his main clinical and research interest is in the management of severe mood disorders.

We asked Professor Davey a few questions to find out more about him, and get to know his plans and vision for the journal.

What motivated you to apply for the role of Editor?

Journals remain the cornerstone of academic endeavour. They are the main means by which we present the evidence for what it is we need to do to ease the burden of mental illness in the community. The ANZJP is the flagship journal for mental health research in Australia and New Zealand, and helps to shape how psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians and researchers understand recent developments. It also promotes what we do here to the rest of the world. The opportunity to participate in this, and shape the dialogue, was really appealing to me.

Can you describe your vision for the ANZJP, and where do you see it heading in the next few years?

I want to build on the excellent work that Gin Malhi has done during his tenure, elevating the journal to the top tier of clinical psychiatry journals. There are many exciting developments in clinical neuroscience, there are new treatments emerging, and we are leveraging a great deal from the power of big data. I want to relay these discoveries to the mental health community in Australia and New Zealand. I want people to understand how these findings can translate into clinical practice. I also want to continue to build the journal as a platform for high level discussions about the clinical practice of psychiatry.

What are your thoughts on the role played by the ANZJP within the College? What might members expect in the journal moving forward?

The ANZJP is the jewel in the crown for Australasian psychiatry, acting as a focal point for our academic activity. We have had an outsized influence on psychiatry in the past century: psychiatrists like Aubrey Lewis and John Cade have had an enduring impact, and we have psychiatrists working now who are doing work which we will look back on as being just as influential. I want to see the journal represent that.

The College provides the support that makes the journal possible. The journal represents psychiatrists, but it is also the academic voice for the many non-psychiatrists who are active in the mental health community: the neuroscientists, epidemiologists, psychologists, general practitioners, and people with lived experience. It is a privilege for psychiatry that we get to play such a central role in coordinating these discussions.

What made you want to go into psychiatry?

I was interested in medicine for its moral purpose and intellectual challenge. And psychiatry, for me, represents the greatest refinement of those interests. I was keen to work to help ease the deep suffering experienced by the many people in the community who experience mental ill health. And nothing to me is more interesting or stimulating than trying to understand the human mind and all of its experiences; and trying to understand a person in the context of their families, communities, and personal histories.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my family, and reading, watching films, and listening to music. I have just recently taken a real interest in photography.

Tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee. A strong flat white is my regular order when I'm out and about. At home I am very fond of the AeroPress – it makes a great coffee.

Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I have been a slightly obsessive record collector for a long time now, and have a big collection of house, disco, soul, dub, Afrobeat, hip hop, and jazz records. I still feel a thrill finding new music, which is now more often old music (but new to me).