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Alistair Burns

Alistair Burns, MD FRCP, FRCPsych, Mphil
(England, United Kingdom), Past President
Associate Editor, International Psychogeriatrics

Alistair Burns graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1980 and trained in general internal medicine before moving to the Maudsley Hospital in London in 1983, where he undertook basic training in psychiatry. In 1986, following a six-month secondment to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (USA), he became a research worker in the Section of Old Age Psychiatry on a Medical Research Council grant held jointly by Raymond Levy and Robin Jacoby.

After further clinical training, he was awarded a Wellcome University award based at the Institute of Psychiatry. He moved to Manchester to be the foundation Professor of Old Age Psychiatry in May 1992 and remains in that post.

Currently, his main research interests include clinical studies in dementia, evaluation of patterns of service provision, particularly in relation to residential and nursing home care, drug treatments of dementia, and the effect of non-cognitive features of dementia on carers. He is Director of Research and Development for the South Manchester University Hospitals’ Trust, a Non-Executive Director of the Trust Board of the Hospitals, Director of the North West Dementia Centre, Editor of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and Chair of the UK Alzheimers Society Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee Panel. Professor Burns is also an Associate Editor of International Psychogeriatrics.

His clinical work is that of an honorary consultant old age psychiatrist in South Manchester where, with colleagues, he looks after a population of some 30,000 people over the age of 65. He has been a member of IPA’s Board of Directors since 1992, has chaired the Bylaws committee, and was co-convenor of the 1996 meeting in Geneva on diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and the 1999 Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) Consensus Meeting. He became secretary of IPA in 1997 and, at the conclusion of IPA’s Ninth Congress in Vancouver (1999), became President-Elect of the organization.

He can be contacted at


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