Sandy McFarlane Joins Phoenix Australia

One of Australia’s leading researchers in PTSD joins us

We are delighted to welcome Professor Alexander (Sandy) McFarlane AO as an honorary Professorial Fellow.


Phoenix Australia has enjoyed a long and strong collaborative relationship with Professor McFarlane and the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies (CTSS) at the University of Adelaide. We are privileged to be able to continue to work together and benefit from Professor McFarlane’s immense expertise.


Professor McFarlane is a member of the Expert Council for Phoenix Australia’s Centenary of Anzac Centre, providing oversight and governance of the centre’s activities. He has been a member of our national PTSD clinical treatment guidelines committees, and he is co­investigator on a current NHMRC Program Grant with Professors David Forbes and Meaghan O’Donnell.


Research collaborations between Phoenix Australia and CTSS include longitudinal research studies such as the Injury Vulnerability Study for injury patients and the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme for recently transitioned members of the Australian Defence Force. Phoenix Australia recently welcomed Dr Ellie Lawrence-Wood and Ms Jenelle Baur as staff, both of whom were long-standing employees of CTSS.


Professor McFarlane, a psychiatrist by training, is one of Australia’s leading researchers in the area of posttraumatic stress with an international reputation in veteran and military mental health research, the longitudinal impact of disasters, and the neurobiology of trauma.


He is a Past President of both the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and has received a multitude of awards for his contributions to the field of traumatic stress, including the ISTSS Lifetime Achievement Award and the Robert Laufer Award for outstanding scientific achievement in the study of the effects of traumatic stress. In 2011 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to medical research in the field of psychiatry, particularly posttraumatic stress disorders, to veterans’ mental health management, and as an author”.


Professor McFarlane’s research has focussed on the epidemiology and longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as the neuroimaging of the cognitive deficits in this disorder. He has a particular interest in the impact of childhood trauma and its impact on adult adjustment. He pioneered longitudinal studies of traumatised populations, including veterans, emergency service workers, disaster victims, and children. This has led to the modelling of the aetiology of posttraumatic syndromes and their longitudinal course, demonstrating the cumulative impact of multiple trauma exposures in the Australian community.


Professor McFarlane’s research expertise has been widely called upon to guide policy and practice. He has been a senior advisor in psychiatry to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian Defence Force, and his advice has been sought in post-disaster situations, including by the United Nations on the impact of the 1990 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and following the 2004 Asian tsunami, and 2012 Italian earthquake, in addition to being an advisor following recent Australian natural disasters.


“I am extremely pleased that Sandy has accepted the appointment of honorary Professorial Fellow, ensuring that our many collaborations will continue, and that Phoenix Australia will continue to be able to draw from the well of Sandy’s expertise.” – Professor David Forbes, Director, Phoenix Australia