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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 HarmerI’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 are committed to making the Department a place where everybody feels welcome, supported and able to thrive. As part of this work, 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 themed months

February 2024 - LGBT+ History Month. The Department was decorated with rainbow flags and informative emails were sent around with details of relevant research and upcoming events.

January 2024 - Athena SWAN. This included a coffee morning on part-time working and a research meeting focused on the latest research on gender inequality.

December 2023 - Gratitude and Reflection. Our gratitude tree was on display in the Common Room with people invited to write and hang notes on it expressing what they were thankful for. There was also a Christmas jumper day and mince pies social event, with the chance to make Christmas decorations.

November 2023 - Men’s Mental Health. Co-organised with Oxford University Innovation a range of awareness and fundraising activities saw a special Movember walk, running clubs, ‘Talking Fatherhood’ cafes and a PI-led stress management session, which was attended by more than 70 people. Several members of the department also grew facial hair and took part in other charitable initiatives, ultimately raising £1,700 for a men's health charity.

October 2023 - Academic Career Development. The Medical Sciences Division Researcher Hub presented on career development resources available to researchers, and the first of many dedicated CV/Fellowship Writing Sessions took place.

October 2023Black History Month. Members of the Department nominated people to celebrate who have contributed to the field of psychiatry or mental health. Profiles of these people were then circulated and displayed in the Department and on social media, garnering lots of interest, including one post about one of our students Boluwatife Ikwunne being viewed 60,000 times.

Other activities during 2023 included a workshop on supporting the neurodivergent community, while members of the department wrote about some of their lived experiences. The Mental Wellbeing working group organised a singing performance and workshop with the Oxford Belles. The Family Friendly and Part-Time Working Group held an open cafe, which was attended by a representative of Childcare Services and updated a Psychiatry guidebook on what support is available for carers. Students were able to attend a wellbeing cafe and shared tips on nurturing wellbeing. A menopause focus early in the year saw awareness-raising of the university's menopause guidance and training and the establishment of a Teams channel to facilitate connections and support. 

Read a summary of our work in 2023 

News and achievements

Department Values and Behaviours Framework

People and Culture Round-up 2023

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

Athena Swan Silver Award





Committee Members