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The People and Culture committee works to make the Department of Psychiatry as supportive, welcoming and inclusive as possible.

Members of the psychiatry department at the summer picnic © Morten Kingelbach
Professor Catherine Harmer

I’m Catherine Harmer the Associate Head of Department for People and Culture.


On these pages you will find information about our working groups; our upcoming plans and recent events.  People and Culture includes our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity. 

It also includes a focus on people – including facilitating career development, nourishing a positive research and working culture and working together to attract and retain people working in the department for academic, professional and support staff and students.

Our working groups feed into a people and culture oversight committee; each working group has developed an action plan for their focus over the next 12-18 months. Together we have created themed months in the department, to tie into national dates, and to organise our talks, blogs, training sessions and other initiatives around this topic.  

Working Groups 

Racial equality Career development
Family-friendly and flexible working Mental Wellbeing  
Early Career Researcher social group

On the Committee we also have:

Anti-racism, Bullying and Harassment

We have published a departmental report on anti-racism, bullying and harassment (internal only). You can also read some FAQs about the report.

Our harassment advisors are led by Erdem Pulcu, who is also on the People & Culture Oversight Committee.

Find out more about how to get support and report incidents of harassment and bullying.


Department Months 2023

July - Summer wellbeing

The Oxford Belles visited the Department to give a singing workshop and performance. In the Common Room, Lego and jigsaws will be available to work on, while the Mental Wellbeing group also planted a herb garden in the outdoor space. There will also be a departmental picnic and rounders game.

June - Family-friendly/flexible working

The Family-Friendly and Part-Time working group are running a cafe, which will provide childcare leaflets and an updated Psychiatry guidebook from previous years, as well as being attended by a representative from Childcare Services. The group is also sending out weekly emails including an introduction to the group and Carers Week and information regarding the returning carers fund. 

May - Neurodiversity

For Neurodiversity Month, members of the Department who are neurodivergent shared their experiences as well as Head of Administration and Finance Moira Westwood on good line management practice. A 'Supporting our neurodivergent community' workshop led by EDI facilitator Hannah Ravenswood was also held and was well-attended.

April - Student Wellbeing

Various activities have been run by student representatives to support the wellbeing of research students across the department including: wellbeing cafés, wellbeing noticeboards sharing tips on nurturing wellbeing, and reflective practice groups facilitated by external qualified counsellors. 

March - Race Equality

We reported back on the results of the surveys and focus groups on racial equality and shared our draft for a departmental action plan to address these concerns. We promoted activities, training and resources around the university aimed at tackling racism and inequality (including this guide on inclusive research), and celebrated the successes of academics of colour. We bought books on racism that now sit in the common room for anyone to access, guided by this anti-racism reading list.

February - LGBT+ History 

Highlighting our commitment to inclusivity, the department was decorated with rainbow flags. A weekly email was sent around sharing information and resources about LGBT+ issues and history.

January  Menopause awareness

The Mental Wellbeing and Family Friendly/Flexible Working Groups jointly organised a “Menopause in the Workplace” themed month. This included raising awareness of the University’s new menopause guidance, setting up a department Teams channel to facilitate connections/support between those affected by the menopause, promoting menopause training, and holding an informal ‘coffee and chat session’.  More details of these activities can be found here (Internal only)


News and achievements

Department Values and Behaviours Framework

Catherine Harmer's People and Culture round-up of 2022

100 per cent of Psychiatry's research environment rated as world-leading in REF 2021

Athena Swan Silver Award





Committee Members

Psychiatry Twitter

Oxford Psychiatry Twitter feed