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Professor Durie (left) presented with the Mark Sheldon Prize by Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists president by Professor Ken Kirkby.

Professor Mason Durie recognised for long-term commitment to mental health

Professor Mason Durie’s long commitment to psychiatry and mental health was acknowledged by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in Melbourne last week.

He is the first New Zealander to be awarded the college's Mark Sheldon Prize for meritorious work in service provision and research to advance knowledge and understanding of indigenous mental health.

Professor Durie is Massey's Professor of Mäori Research and Development, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Mäori) and Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr Julian Freidin, chair of the psychiatrists' college awards committee said Professor Durie had transformed mental health services in New Zealand over the past 30 years.  "He introduced Mäori health perspectives into treatment and care at a time when culture was considered irrelevant to clinical progress, and provided both vision and guidance in the development of models of care relevant to Mäori," Dr Freidin said.

“More recently Professor Durie has led three national Mäori mental health workforce programmes and has been engaged in wide-ranging research relating to improved mental health services.  In addition to his interests in health he has lectured and written extensively on broader issues of indigenous advancement and especially contemporary Mäori development.”

The prize honours the life of Dr Sheldon, whose abiding professional interest was indigenous mental health.

Professor Durie was invited to deliver a keynote address to the college congress and took the opportunity to discuss Måori workforce development as a key driver for increasing Måori health gains.

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