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DM  FRCPsych Mina Fazel - Professor (Chair) of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Professor Mina Fazel is Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry. She also works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Oxford Children’s Hospital.




tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to studying/working at the University of Oxford?   

I trained as a medical doctor but also did social anthropology as part of my training, so I have always been interested in thinking about problems from as broad a perspective as possible. The interpersonal and social environment is so important, especially during childhood and adolescence, but can also be quite difficult to study.

Oxford has always been a wonderful place to take a broad perspective on subjects of study, especially as there are so many different teams and experts working across departments on relevant areas. It is such a privilege to be able to work with colleagues in law, social policy and intervention, paediatrics, education, ethics and experimental psychology. All these perspectives can make the research questions more interesting and finding solutions more meaningful.


What is your vision for the team you work with?

This is probably the most exciting time to be working in child and adolescent psychiatry. It is such an important area. Across the board colleagues working in clinical services, education, local authorities, third sector organisations and across government departments and policy are keen to better understand how to help children and adolescents thrive, and are wanting to base these discussions on actual data gathered directly from young people.

School-aged children are experiencing many difficulties but it is not clear what the best solutions are. I’m particularly interested in schools-based interventions, and given almost every child goes to school, we must improve our understanding of what support works best for children and young people. This applies across health, education and social care.

As there is increasing interest in child and adolescent psychiatry research, I plan in this new role to encourage as many researchers who are keen to learn and develop ideas in this area to come and join us.

As a team we have been looking at a number of areas including school-based mental health interventions, self-harm, sleep, friendships, communication with children in complex situations, and interventions in lower-resource-settings. But we also would love to start building new areas of expertise, as there is so much more that needs to be done!


What is currently at the top of your To-Do List?

We have three really exciting papers that are close to completion so I can’t wait to get those done, as they are really important, meaningful and I believe will help us improve our understanding of how best to work with the most vulnerable young people as well as how to improve the methods we use in research.

We are also always looking at finding ways to get more funding so that we can extend our work, improve our impact and develop new areas.  


How did you get to where you are today?

I have had so many great colleagues, mentors and collaborators. I love this area of work as I believe it is important, can bring about useful changes that can help children and families and I am therefore quite happy to work hard as it is very rewarding.

The department has also nurtured me for the past 20 years, supporting me at a time when I have also needed to complete my clinical training as well as helping me to thrive and work flexibly when my children were younger. I have always been able to work in areas that I felt is important and interesting, for example in refugee mental health and now school-aged children who might find it difficult to access current services.  


Who or what inspires you?

The incredible members of the child psychiatry team, especially our students and early career researchers

From undergraduate and graduate students to post docs, I am really amazed at how thoughtful, committed, and hard-working they are, with interesting ideas as to how to better conduct our studies in this area. I hope many more will come and join us and I am excited that this role gives me the opportunity to encourage more people to come and work in this area. For example, I work with some wonderful medical students on a refugee mental health project.


If you were not in your job currently, what would you like to be doing?

Apart from being my kids’ chauffeur, I would like to be in media, public relations, podcasts or something like that, as I like getting ideas across to the public. I did some work with the BBC World Service earlier in my career and I really enjoyed that and finding ways to get important ideas across to larger audiences.