He will continue to be linked to the department as an Emeritus Professor and honorary member.
Professor Stein has been in the Department for more than 30 years and has led the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry research group for more than 20 years, having previously been the Leopold Muller Professor of Child & Family Mental Health, Royal Free and University College Medical School, at University College London.
Throughout his career, he has worked with children and families facing adversity and has made a major contribution, both from a scientific and clinical perspective, on the relationship between parents in adversity and their babies. Through a series of Wellcome-funded research programme grants, he illuminated the mechanisms by which early parenting influences children’s development, and pioneered interventions to support parents to facilitate their children’s development. Amongst many grant awards he has been funded continuously for the last 35 years through a series of awards by the Wellcome.
He has worked collaboratively with a range of colleagues throughout the global South, particularly in South Africa. He has been part of the leadership team of several randomized control trials and a number of large cohort studies across eight countries on three different continents following up children from the early years of life into adulthood. A major research focus has been on how to communicate with children about life-threatening illness (e.g. HIV, cancer, COVID) and his team have developed guidelines which have been disseminated across multiple countries, especially during the COVID pandemic. He also co-leads a large multi-disciplinary multi-country early child development network to harness global data to influence policy. He has also worked with adolescent mental health and refugee children.
Professor Stein has publishing more than 300 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals from The Lancet to Nature. He has led three Lancet series: on perinatal health; the mental health of refugee children; the communication of life-threatening illness to children.
He has supervised many students from around the world, including doctoral students from all continents (South America, North America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe), as well as the UK. He also mentors and supervises many research fellows especially in the global context. He said:
“It has been an amazing 22 years as Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and I am hugely proud of the work that has been achieved by our group. It has been a privilege to work with such wonderful colleagues and I have learned so much.”
Professor Belinda Lennox, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Alan for the enormous contribution he has made both to the Department of Psychiatry in his time here and to Child and Adolescent psychiatry in general, where he has been at the forefront of world-leading research. We will miss him and wish him well, but look forward to continuing to collaborate as he embarks on this important new strategic role in global health at the university.”
Professor Stein received his medical training at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Most of his postgraduate medical training was undertaken in Oxford and in 1988 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Lectureship in the University of Oxford.
From 1991 to 1994 he held joint Senior Research Fellowships at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and in 1995 was appointed Professor of Child & Adolescent Mental Health at the Royal Free and University College Medical School and the Tavistock Centre.
In 2001 he returned to Oxford to take up the Chair in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. He also holds an Honorary Professorship in the School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand and is a Faculty Member of the African Health Research Institute (AHRI).
Professor Stein will be starting his new role as Senior Research Fellow in Global Health and Public Policy in January 2024.