Professor McFarlane is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the University of Adelaide Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide.
He is an international expert in the field of the impact of disasters and posttraumatic stress disorder. He has held the role of Senior Adviser in Psychiatry to the Australian Defence Force, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He has also held the rank of Group Captain in the RAAF Specialist Reserve.
Professor McFarlane has been integral in establishing research programs to investigate the physical and mental health of all Australian veterans and serving military personnel who have deployed to the Middle East. He was also the principal investigator of the Defence Health and Wellbeing Survey, which examined the mental health of the entire Australian Defence Force.
Apart from his interest in the care and wellbeing of disaster victims, military personnel and civilian trauma survivors, he has significant experience in the provision of care to emergency service personnel. His research is supported by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the NHMRC program and partnership grants. He has published over 350 articles and chapters in various refereed journals and has co-edited three books.
In 2011, he received the Officer of the Order of Australia award in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to medical research in the field of psychiatry, particularly posttraumatic stress disorders, to veterans’ mental health management, and as an author”. In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies. This award recognises years of service and leadership in the field of traumatic stress. In 2016, he became one of only three Australians to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the American Psychiatric Association in recognition of his contributions to the field of traumatic stress.