Our yearly RCPsych Awards celebrate the best and brightest teams and individuals in our field.
Below you'll find details of the winners across all of our categories, from psychiatrists of all grades and levels of training, to teams working throughout mental health care.
RCPsych Lifetime Achievement Award
Lord John Alderdice
Lord Alderdice's career has seen him make huge contributions to both psychiatry and public life, including playing a significant role in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
He was a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in Belfast, a senior lecturer in psychotherapy at The Queen’s University, Belfast, and has occupied many other posts in an illustrious career.
RCPsych President Dr Adrian James, who led this year’s judging panel, said:
“Lord Alderdice has made an extraordinary contribution to psychiatry and mental health, to politics and to world peace.
“He has had a distinguished career as a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in the NHS in Northern Ireland but will be best remembered for the role he played in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and becoming the first Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly."
See what Lord Alderdice's colleagues had to say about him in this video.
PsychSoc of the Year
Headucate is the inspirational student-founded, run and led UEA PsychSoc.
Headucate has been recognised and shortlisted nationally, winning, several awards including at the National Societies and Volunteering Awards, National Student Fundraising Association, National Undergraduate Employability Awards and Bright Network’s Society of the Year.
Headucate’s goal has always been to innovate and improve. In December 2021, Co-President Tory, led them to official Charity Commission registration – ‘Headucate UK’, No. 1197217 – bringing together 50+ representatives from 20+ United Kingdom Mental Health awareness societies, to collaborate on projects and campaigns.
The judging panel noted the growth of their social media reach, both nationally and internationally, and their work in organising online workshops for school children.
Foundation Doctor of the Year
Dr Chung Mun Alice Lin
Dr Lin is an exceptional foundation doctor. She is caring, compassionate and always puts patients first. In her first-ever post as a doctor, her performance was comparable to a competent core trainee in psychiatry. She not only has a robust theoretical knowledge base but also understands the nuances of psychiatric diagnosis and impact of social isolation in marginalised communities.
She is a clear thinker and an excellent team worker. As an academic foundation doctor, she has published multiple papers this year, including a systematic review on impact of telesychiatry with Professor Subodh Dave, Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She coproduced a patient information leaflet on restriction orders after seeing a gap in literature for mentally unwell offenders in the community.
The judging panel commented that Dr Lin also finds time to teach and inspire medical students, organising local and national mock interviews to support them in their academic aspirations.
Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year
Dr Maxime Taquet
As a researcher, Max has published seven high-impact first-author papers including in Lancet Psychiatry (x2), JAMA Psychiatry, PLoS Medicine, and BJPsych, and a prestigious invited editorial in The Lancet.
As a professional, he innovated in electronic health records data analysis, by writing software and advising two mental health start-ups. He developed an online system to manage ward jobs, increasing safety and efficiency. He initiated international collaborations with researchers from different disciplines.
As a clinician, he has been praised by senior colleagues for his “exceptional knowledge” and “outstanding skills”. He successfully treated a patient using CBT, and delivered ECT independently at high clinical standards.
The judges noted that Max remains remarkablly personable, down-to-earth, and a pleasure to work with.
Higher Psychiatric Trainee of the Year
Dr Rachel Winter
Dr Rachel Winter is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry and Medical Education. She has excelled in all aspects of training, with exceptional achievements in leadership, education and research. She has consistently fought to promote diversity and challenge inequalities in the mental health workforce.
She co-founded and leads Medicine Calling, a recruitment to mental health careers initiative. Rachel is passionate about inspiring the next generation of medics to consider a career in psychiatry and is a keen advocate of widening access to medical careers.
Rachel is a dedicated and driven medical educator and is a key member of the Medicine with Foundation Year faculty at Leicester Medical School. She's also a medical student tutor and regularly mentors junior doctors and academic trainees, offering encouragement, inspiration and support.
Commenting on her nomination, the judges remarked that she has provided outstanding clinical leadership to many professional groups during a challenging time.
Patient Contributor of the Year
Raf Hamaizia is a former in-patient service user and current community service user that has led various national projects around Co-production both internally within Cygnet Health Care and within the sector more widely in his capacity as an Expert by Experience.
These include the Smoke Aware Initiative – a co-produced project to provide access to safety-tested e-cigarettes and lived experience-led awareness on cessation within in-patient mental health services.
Another project is the People's Council – a service user-led forum within Cygnet's in-patient services which has been replicated across the sector.
The judges were impressed by Raf's involvement in various national projects which have had a positive impact on patients and services.
Psychiatric Communicator of the Year
Dr Jon Goldin
Jon has been a leading media spokesperson for the College since 2016. During 2021 he made further television and radio appearances and has also contributed to newspaper, online and print journalism. He is able to communicate in a clear and accessible way, making topics related to the field of Psychiatry understandable to members of the public.
Dr Goldin has made two podcasts on the pandemic as well as a video for the RCPsych, which was widely disseminated during 2021 and very well-received.
He has also spoken in schools and regularly teaches medical students, successfully encouraging them to choose Psychiatry as a career.
Dr Goldin is the RCPsych Lead for Parliamentary Engagement and regularly speaks on panels at Party Conferences and at the APPG on Mental Health. He often meets MPs and Members of the House of Lords on an individual basis, lobbying on a range of issues and helping them develop their understanding of key issues.
The judging panel commented on Jon's all-round gifts as a communicator and that he is exemplary in his presentations across all forms of media.
Psychiatric Educator of the Year
Dr Gerti Stegen
Dr Stegen has held roles in medical education since 2010 and has just stepped down from her role as Director of Medical Education (DME). She has been a dynamic and pioneering DME and kept the interests of trainees and patients firmly at the forefront of her approach to medical education.
As DME she strived to helped trainees to be enthused about psychiatry and has helped them find their voice, strengths, and special areas of interest. She has also raised the profile of psychiatry as a specialty, supporting schemes to improve recruitment and forge connections with other medical specialties
Dr Stegen has set up numerous training initiatives ranging from teaching sessions simulating coroner’s court to peer support groups for medics of all specialties. She is an excellent sounding board for trainees wanting to develop new schemes or areas of expertise. She provides outstanding mentorship, advice and encouragement in supporting trainees to pursue new interests and skills.
Praised by the judging panel for her energy and motivation to see her trainees succeed, they also commented on her 'magnificent versatility' as an educator.
Academic Researcher of the Year
Dr Tim Nicholson
Dr Nicholson has led on national and international neuropsychiatry research and education both in core neuropsychiatry topics such as Functional Neurological Disorder (FND, previously known as conversion disorder), autoimmune and other ‘organic’ psychiatry as well as COVID-19 neuropsychiatry.
He has led on outcome work in FND which was the first large international collaboration in the field resulting in high-impact research informing both trials and clinical services globally. He also led on the development of the first international consortium coordinating and harmonising neuroimaging research in this disorder.
He has also led on the setting up of the RCPsych surveillance portal for psychiatric complications of COVID-19 as part of the UK CoroNerve study, as well as the £3.2m MRC funded UK-wide COVID-CNS study – the largest global study of the mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric complications of COVID-19.
The judges noted that Dr Nicholson's work continues to improve the understanding of, and care of people with, functional neurological disorders.
Specialty Doctor/Associate Specialist of the Year
Dr Monique Schelhase
Dr Schelhase is an outstanding Associate Specialist and shows excellence not in just one, but all the domains of clinical work, medical education, leadership and management, research, innovation and parity of esteem.
She is an expert in her clinical field delivering holistic care already meeting the NHS Long term plan aims by working in an innovative and integrated way between voluntary sector, primary, secondary and tertiary care. She delivers multi-professional local and regional teaching and training with excellent feedback.
Monique is a natural leader and respected manager, she is clinical lead to the service, line manager to the doctors in the team, mentor and medical appraiser. She is outgoing Chair of RCPsych SAS committee chair and has significantly raised the SAS profile in the College but in her true lifelong development style she has now taken on a Masters, is the North East and Yorkshire Regional Specialty Representative (Eating Disorders).
The judging panel appreciated her work as an accomplished clinician, educator, manager and leader.
Psychiatric Global Health Contributor of the Year
Professor Petrus de Vries
Over the last two years Professor de Vries was Chairman of the African Division of the RCPsych, Treasurer of IACAPAP (International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions), President of SA-ACAPAP (South African Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions), and Secretary of INSAR (International Society for Autism Research).
For IACAPAP, he led the Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars, an international research capacity programme for child and adolescent mental health professionals. For INSAR, he was co-chair of the Senior Global Leaders in Autism Initiative and set up an international committee and a panel of experts across WHO regions to inform INSAR on clinical services, policy and research. At SA-ACAPAP he introduced an emerging researcher programme (co-funded by the RCPsych) and ran the programme virtually during the covid pandemic.
Across these national and international roles he led a range of actions and initiatives in global health that has inspired a wide group of mental health and other professionals, as well as families and communities.
The judges described Professor De Vries as a role model for those invested in contributing to global mental health.
Psychiatrist of the Year
Dr Afifa Qazi
Since starting her career in psychiatry in the UK in 2000, Dr Qazi has worked tirelessly to deliver the highest standard of care to patients and to go the extra mile for staff wellbeing. She is an inspirational role model, particularly for ethnic minority women, and has earned the reputation of a compassionate leader.
In 2014, Dr Qazi established one of the first dementia crisis teams in the country, winning the prestigious EAHSN Health Innovation award and the HSJ award.
Taking on her role at KMPT just before the pandemic, Dr Qazi provided support and leadership to staff during an unprecedented time. She set up dedicated drop-in sessions to support trainees and sessions for staff concerned about taking the COVID-19 vaccination, which contributed to the trust’s high vaccination uptake.
Dr Qazi is a robust clinical leader in Kent who strongly advocates and champions parity of esteem for mental health. She has been instrumental in working with the new Kent and Medway Medical School to raise the profile of psychiatry across the county. She is very well-liked by all who work with her and many describe her as the “calm in the storm”.
The judging panel recognised that Dr Qazi has strongly advocated and championed parity of esteem for mental health in her role as Chief Medical Officer and that she has made a positive impact to the wellbeing of patients and carers in Kent.
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Children and adolescents
Devon CAMHS Assertive Outreach
Devon CAMHS Assertive Outreach is a flexible, responsive team for young people working to keep them safe and engaged, within their local area, avoiding inpatient admissions or care placements far away, given the rural geography.
The team has shown immense flexibility, constantly embracing new ideas. The team focuses on creative ways to foster engagement including enablement, social prescribing, and working with parents/carers for support.
Despite COVID, the team continued meeting people in their homes, whilst also embracing remote working to improve multidisciplinary and multi-agency communication in such a rural region.
The judges were impressed with how the team showed creativity and resilience during a time of upheaval and increased demand for services.
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Working-age adults
Solihull Early Intervention Service
Solihull Early Intervention Service work intensively with ‘difficult to engage’ individuals with psychosis. Their ambitious targets were sorely challenged during the pandemic. However, the targets were not only met but exceeded during 2021.
By adapting their practice, they managed to achieve outstanding results in the National Audit for referral access and waiting time, outcome measures and physical health.
The team optimises:
- Symptomatic recovery- patients with treatment resistant psychosis identified early and commenced on clozapine at home. Concordance encouraged through prompt identification of side effects, quick access to medical reviews and encouragement of depots for patients who find concordance difficult. All patients are offered CBT for psychosis and family therapy.
- Social recovery: all patients have access to employment and education support to help them back into work or education. Group activities to the local farm, cinema trips and growing vegetables in the allotment provide opportunity for social recovery.
- Personal Recovery: the team helps each patient adapt to having a serious mental disorder. Many patients make such a strong personal recovery that they are motivated to teach and inspire medical students and offer peer support
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Older-age adults
The Memory Clinic
The Memory Clinic are an outward-looking, collaborative, determined team who will forego the familiar and easy option if it means a better deal for their patients in the long run.
Their memory service has completely changed the way they serve their population, moving from a linear but rigid pathway to a flexible, person-centred model. This has been done in spite of the pandemic, not because of it and the driver for this whole change was clinicians wondering if there was a better way of working.
This project shows that it is possible to maintain quality of care and high patient satisfaction whilst also improving efficiency both in terms of costing and also timescale. This was done with no extra resources but with passion, innovation and determination from all involved.
The judges were very impressed by the innovative approach of a service redesign taken by the Memory Service, resulting in impressive outcomes and feedback from staff and patients without any additional costs involved.
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Intellectual Disability
Havering Adult Community Learning Disability Team
Havering Community Learning Disabilities Team (CLDT) is an integrated health and social care team. The team has demonstrated excellent commitment and resilience under very challenging situations and have continued to offer best care for our service users.
The team has ensured to keep service user voice at the centre of all innovations by holding listening event and by being an active partner at the local Partnership Board. The team has also been successful in employing a service user as patient engagement lead, who plays an active part in all service development.
The judging panel noted that the team encompasses the best in clinical practice with clear evidence of service innovation and quality improvement initiatives to enhance the outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities.
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Quality Improvement
Adult Mental Health WHSCT, Western Health and Social Care Trust
The team have used a Quality Improvement (QI) methodology to help understand their existing system and introduce ideas of change. They found it important to ensure that the voice of the service user and the coproduction work that had come before was not lost.
The team used virtual platforms to share and reflect on progress. A series of workshops and staff training built confidence and competence in staff in utilising the new process and gathering data.
Improving systems whilst working in a pandemic was challenging. The team found that maintaining communication with stakeholders helped maintain momentum for change.
The judges recognised the team's rigorous QI methodology, wide stakeholder engagement and excellent results.
Psychiatric Team of the Year: Outstanding commitment to Sustainability/Green Care
Gardening for Health, Better Lives/Eagle Recovery/St Mary's Secret Garden
Better Lives partnered with the Eagle Recovery Project to create a garden and horticultural therapy project at Better Lives’ day centre, King Henry’s Walk.
Their aim was to create a space where people could do something focussed, productive and allow them to connect with their surroundings in a way that would be beneficial for their mental and physical health.
The garden is now also used as a “bookable space” for other groups, such as art therapy and mindfulness sessions, weather permitting
The judges considered this a thoughtful and inspiring project, embodying many of the key values of sustainability and showcasing the central role of nature as a core element of mental health care.
If you have any queries about the awards, please contact the Membership Services team on MembershipServices@rcpsych.ac.uk.