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Physical and Mental Health Research Stream

Physical and Mental Health Research Stream

Improving health outcomes for people with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder affecting 20 million people worldwide, including approximately 150,000 – 200,000 Australians. The disorder is characterised by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self and behaviour and consequently results in considerable disability for people who live with the condition.

Thirty percent of people with schizophrenia are treatment-refractory, which means they do not respond to the usual first-line treatments and experience ongoing psychotic symptoms and progressive deterioration in their ability to function. Clozapine is currently the only antipsychotic drug licensed for treatment-refractory schizophrenia, however, it causes significant weight gain in most patients. This weight gain contributes to early death in people with schizophrenia, who die on average, over 16 years earlier than the general population due to avertable cardio-metabolic disease, rather than suicide.

As a clinical psychiatrist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Professor Dan Siskind works with patients who have treatment-refractory schizophrenia. He has experienced first-hand how distressed his patients become by the side-effect of weight gain. This weight gain is very hard to live with for patients, as it negatively impacts their cardiovascular health, and also reduces their quality of life, willingness to engage socially, self-esteem, and desire to continue with treatment.

Dan has responded to the needs of his patients by establishing the Physical and Mental Health Stream at QCMHR.

Research focus

Research conducted under this stream aims to improve the mental health and physical comorbidity outcomes of people living with schizophrenia, with a focus on two key areas:

  • Physical health comorbidity
  • Treatment refractory schizophrenia

Ultimately, by uncovering new knowledge about the physical and mental health of people with schizophrenia, Dan and his team hope to empower people with schizophrenia to live longer and healthier lives.

 

Staff

Professor Dan Siskind

HeadPhysical and Mental Health Research Stream Adjunct ProfessorQueensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland Academic Title-ProfessorPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland Eminent Staff Specialist (clinical psychiatry)Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Queensland



Professor Steve Kisely

Affiliate Physical and Mental Health Research Stream Professor of PsychiatryPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Associate Professor Shuichi Suetani

Affiliate Physical and Mental Health Research Stream Senior PsychiatristInstitute for Urban Indigenous Health Adjunct Research FellowQueensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland



Associate Professor Nicola Warren

Affiliate Physical and Mental Health Research Stream PsychiatristMetro South Addiction and Mental Health Services, Queensland Health Education Lead Lecturer, PsychiatryPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Dr Urska Arnautovska Helsby

Research FellowPhysical and Mental Health Research Stream PsychologistLogan Clinical Psychology Research FellowPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Dr Rebecca Soole

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Physical and Mental Health Research Stream



Dr Korinne Northwood

AffiliatePhysical and Mental Health Research Stream Psychiatry RegistrarPrincess Alexandra Hospital Academic Title HolderPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Dr Sean Halstead

AffiliatePhysical and Mental Health Research Stream Psychiatry RegistrarPrincess Alexandra Hospital PhD StudentQueensland Centre for Mental Health Research



Dr Claudia Bull

Research FellowPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Dr Gabrielle Ritchie

Research AssistantPhysical and Mental Health Research Stream Adjunct Research FellowPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland



Mike Trott

Research FellowPAH-Southside Clinical Unit. The University of Queensland



Emily Dickson

Research AssistantPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland  



Kathryn Vitangcol

Research AssistantPAH-Southside Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland


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HEAD OFFICE

Level 3, Dawson House
The Park Centre for Mental Health Treatment
Research and Education, Wacol, QLD 4076
P: +61 7 3271 8704

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands in which QCMHR operates and their continuing connections to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and stand together with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.