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Professor Dinesh Bhugra

Professor Dinesh Bhugra


MA, MSc, MBBS, DSc(Hon), PhD, FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPsych, FFPHM, FRCPsych(Hon), FHKCPsych(Hon), FACPsych(Hon), FAMS(Singapore), FKCL, MPhil, LMSSA, FAcadME, FRSA, DIFAPA

Professor Dinesh Bhugra was president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2008 to 2011.

He studied medicine at the University of Pune in India. In 1981 he started training in psychiatry at the University of Leicester, and in 1986 moved to the Maudsley Hospital in London. He is also a holder of a PhD in psychiatry obtained from the University of London in 1999

In 2004 he was appointed Professor of mental health and cultural diversity at the Institute of Psychiatry, King`s College, London, and in 2014 he was appointed professor emeritus.

First and only President so far to be elected unopposed, Professor Bhugra led on development of public mental health in the College, established RCPsych awards and led on education working across Colleges as Vice-President of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. He was part of Collins Review of undergraduate training. He was elected the Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2003-2008).

In 2008 he became the first president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists to be elected unopposed. In 2012 he received a CBE for services to psychiatry.

He was President of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) from 2014 to 2017, the first British psychiatrist to be elected as president of the WPA. As President of the WPA, he led on and crafted 30 Position Statements on various topics, including characteristics of a good psychiatrist some of which have strongly influenced policy in governments around the world. He established Presidential task Forces on Child abuse and Neglect, Inter-personal Violence, Prisoner mental Health care, Migrant health care, LGBT populations’ mental health care and those of people with intellectual disabilities. He created programmes for mental health promotion and appointed Good Will Ambassadors from Bollywood and Hollywood along with patients and religious leaders. He established 6 WPA Collaborating centres in different parts of the world to share research, policy and training. Following a survey of discrimination against people with mental illness in 193 countries, he developed Bill of Rights for Individuals with mental Illness signed by 60 organisations which was followed by Bills of Rights for Children and young people and for those with intellectual disabilities. As part of the First Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum and in this role helped produce a document on mental health in the workplace. He has been awarded 17 named orations and 15 honorary degrees from Universities and organisations around the world.

He was President of the British Medical Association (BMA) from 2018 to 2019. As President of the BMA he led on medicine’s social contract, launch of equity campaign and survey of burnout among doctors and medical students.

In 2016 he led a “bill of rights” for people with mental illness, launched at the House of Lords

In 2013, he chaired the enquiry into racism in Cardiff Medical school and all the recommendations were accepted by the University. In 2016, he was invited to chair an enquiry into the patient care and abuse in Hong Kong on behalf of the Government of Hong Kong.

He has authored/co-authored over 500 scientific papers, chapters, editorials and 40 books. Several of his books have won awards and gone into multiple editions. Three of his books have been translated into Mandarin and Japanese. His Oxford Textbook for Public Mental Health won Book of the Year award in 2019. In the same awards Practical Cultural Psychiatry was highly recommended. He is the Editor of the International Journal of Social Psychiatry and International Review of Psychiatry.

As Chair of the Mental Health Foundation (2011-2014), he produced reports on future of mental health services and psychiatry’s social contract.

He is on the Board of the charities Sane and the Psychiatric Research Trust and chairs DocHealth, a charity which is jointly funded by the BMA and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. He is Deputy Chair and Non-Executive Director of Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.


Reflecting on the portrait of Professor Dinesh Bhugra

As part of a project to try to better understand the RCPsych presidents’ portraits, we have interviewed past presidents and the artists who painted them. 

Read more about the portrait of Professor Dinesh Bhugra

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry