Professor honoured for dementia work

The University of Manchester’s Professor Alistair Burns has been made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in recognition of his work in raising the profile of old age psychiatry and increasing understanding of dementia.

Professor Burns is the National Clinical Director for Dementia in England and Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University. He is also an Honorary Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is presented to individuals who are eminent in psychiatry or allied sciences and have rendered distinguished service in the study, prevention or treatment of mental illness, or notable service to the College.

“He has raised significantly the profile of old age psychiatry and made inroads into our understanding of dementia through his meticulous research, writings and teaching.”

After graduating as a doctor in 1980, and a short stint in medicine, Professor Burns took up a career in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London. During his senior registrar years at the Institute of Psychiatry, he became a senior lecturer in old age psychiatry.

He arrived in Manchester in 1992 as the University’s first professor in old age psychiatry and became renowned for his clinical skills in dementia locally and regionally, and set up the first memory clinic, which continues to run to this day. He continues to teach medical students and train junior doctors.

Through his research and teaching, Professor Burns has been involved in the development of many initiatives on dementia care and in the understanding of carer needs.

Professor Burns is a Past President of the International Psychogeriatric Association and is on the board of the European Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. He is Editor of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and is on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Psychiatry and International Psychogeriatrics. He has published over 300 papers and 25 books.

He said: “The need for continuing awareness and study of dementia issues is a significant issue which I have devoted my career to.  Therefore I’m very proud that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has chosen to recognise my efforts to achieve this.”

Notes for editors

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