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IASP Executive Committee

Ella Arensman

Professor Ella Arensman

Professor Ella Arensman is Director of Research with the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland. She holds an MSc and PhD from Leiden University, The Netherlands.

She has been involved in research and prevention into suicide and self-harm for more than 28 years, with emphasis on risk and protective factors associated with suicide and self-harm and effectiveness of suicide prevention and self-harm intervention programmes. In Ireland, she played a key role in developing Reach Out, the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention (2005-2014), and she is currently involved in the development of the new Irish Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention, 2015-2020. In recent years, she developed an innovative Suicide Support and Information System (SSIS).

She has published extensively in scientific peer reviewed journals and international textbooks, and she fulfils an advisory role on many national and international steering groups, and editorial boards, including Crisis.

Professor Arensman has a pro-active approach towards international collaboration in suicide research and prevention, reflected by her longstanding involvement in many international consortia, such as the WHO/Euro Multicentre study on Suicidal Behaviour, the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD), Optimised Suicide Prevention Programmes and their Implementation in Europe (OSPI-Europe), Preventing Depression and Increasing Awareness through Networking in the EU (PREDI-NU), and Mental Health Training through Research Network in Europe (MARATONE).

In collaboration with the World Health Organisation, she has been pro-active in the development of national suicide prevention programmes in countries with limited government support. She has been involved in the recent IASP-WHO Global Survey on Suicide Prevention, which has provided new insights into suicide prevention in regions across the world for which limited information was available.

Professor Arensman’s vision for IASP over the coming years would be to actively encourage international collaboration in suicide prevention and research resulting in a more effective global strategy. A key direction would be to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers in order to strengthen the implementation and evaluation of national suicide prevention programmes. For the growth of IASP, it will be important to empower young professionals to have an active role in the work of IASP.


Murad Khan

Dr. Murad Khan
1st Vice President

Murad Khan is Professor & Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. He completed his medical training from University of Karachi and higher psychiatric training in General Adult and Old Age Psychiatry at Maudsley and Kings College Hospital, London, UK. He has over 25 years of experience in teaching, research and clinical psychiatry. He is the Principal investigator of Karachi Suicide Study, a collaborative study with the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, International Academy of Suicide Research (IASR), Chair of Council of National Representatives and Board Member of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). He has published extensively on suicide and attempted suicide in Pakistan and is on the editorial board of a number of national and international journals. His research interests include mental health of women and elderly, psychosomatic medicine and bioethics.


Steve Platt

Professor Steve Platt
2nd Vice President

Stephen Platt is Professor Emeritus (Health Policy Research) at the University of Edinburgh. For 35 years he has pursued a research interest in mental health and suicidal behaviour, co-authoring publications on social, epidemiological and cultural aspects of suicide and self-harm. He co-edited the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy & Practice (published in 2011). He has been particularly concerned with the influence of labour market conditions (and related inequalities) on the incidence of suicide and deliberate self-harm. He has extensive experience of management and leadership roles in relation to suicide prevention research, acting as principal investigator of several large-scale projects and as international co-ordinator of the WHO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide (1986-1991). He was co-organiser of the 12th European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour, held in 2008 in Glasgow, UK. He has provided expert advice on suicide prevention to the World Health Organization (1980s, 1990s) and (more recently) the Scottish Government, serving on several committees and contributing to the development of Choose Life, a National Strategy and Action Plan to Prevent Suicide in Scotland (2001-02). In 2004-06 he led a consortium of researchers who undertook a formative evaluation of the first phase of the strategy. He is a member of the International Academy for Suicide Research and has served on the Scientific Review Board for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He is involved in policy development and analysis relating to public mental health and mental health improvement, and has successfully collaborated with policy planners and practitioners working in these areas. He has published on conceptual and methodological aspects of positive mental health and well-being and is co-developer of the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS). He is a trustee of UK Samaritans.


Professor Maurizio Pompili

Professor Maurizio Pompili
3rd Vice President

Maurizio Pompili, M.D, Ph.D. is currently Professor of Suicidology and part of the Faculty of Medicine and Psychology of Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, where he received his M.D. degree, where he trained in Psychiatry (both summa cum laude) and where he has doctoral degree in Experimental and Clinical Neurosciences. He is the Director of the Suicide Prevention Center at Sant'Andrea Hospital in Rome. He is also part of the Community at McLean Hospital – Harvard Medical School, USA. He is the recipient of the American Association of Suicidology's 2008 Shneidman Award for “Outstanding early career contribution to suicidology."

Maurizio Pompili is part of IASP Special Interest Group for Emergency Medicine and Suicidal Behavior and he has been Italian representative for IASP for several years. He is also member of the International Academy for Suicide Research and the American Association of Suicidology. Professor Pompili has provided validation studies of the Beck Hopelessness Scale, Reason for Living Inventory, TEMPS-A for the Italian population researching the interplay of factors that may precipitate suicide both in clinical and non-clinical samples.

Maurizio Pompili has published about 300 papers on suicide including original research articles, book chapters and editorials. He co-edited ten international books on suicide (including the latest Evidence-based practice in suicidology with Hogrefe & Huberr and Suicide in the words of suicidologists with Nova).

Maurizio Pompili is particularly active in collaborations the Italian Ministry of Health and Italian Health Institute for suicide prevention. He is the principal investigator for Italy for the START study directed by Prof. De Leo. He recently launched the Race for Live, a sporting event to support suicide prevention in the community.



Dr Morton Silverman

Dr Mort M Silverman

Morton M. Silverman, M.D., currently is the Senior Science Advisor to the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). From 10/02 until 1/03 he served as the first Director of the SPRC. The SPRC was established under a cooperative agreement between the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Since 7/04 he has been the Senior Medical Advisor to The Jed Foundation (NYC). He currently is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

Dr. Silverman served as the first Chief of the Center for Prevention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (1983-1985), and then served as the first Associate Administrator for Prevention in the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (1985-1987). From 1987-2002, he was an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Silverman served as the Senior Scientific Editor and Writer for the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action (2001). From 2011-2012 he was a member of the Task Force to revise the National Strategy. He has been a consultant to the DHHS Federal Steering Group to implement the U.S. National Strategy. From 1996-2009 he was the Editor-in-Chief of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, the scientific journal of the American Association of Suicidology. From 2002-2013 he was a member (elected) of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) Scientific Council. From 2004-2011 he served as a Senior Education Consultant to the Denver VA VISN 19 MIRECC, focusing on suicide prevention.

Dr. Silverman is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the co-author or author of over 45 peer-reviewed publications, and over 30 book and monograph chapters on the topics of college student mental health, disease prevention, health promotion, alcohol and other drug abuse, suicide, and standards of care. He is the co-editor or co-author of six books on topics related to the field of suicidology, including The Comprehensive Textbook of Suicidology (2000), and Adolescent Suicide: Assessment and Intervention (2006). He is the 2005 recipient of the Louis I. Dublin Award from the American Association of Suicidology, for "outstanding service and contributions to the field of suicide prevention as evidenced by leadership, devotion and creativity."

He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania (1969) and received his M.D. degree from Northwestern University (1974). In 1978 he completed his residency training in Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.


Professor Jane Pirkis

Professor Jane Pirkis
General Secretary

Jane Pirkis is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. She has an international reputation in the area of suicide prevention and mental health program evaluation, and currently holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship which is funding a program of work on suicide prevention. Her research falls into four main areas:

  1. studies on the epidemiology of suicide;
  2. studies on media reporting of suicide and mental illness;
  3. evaluations of mental health and suicide prevention programs and policies; and
  4. trials of specific interventions for at-risk individuals.

Her work has been extremely influential in the policy arena. Jane's research achievements in mental health and suicide prevention have been recognised by a number of awards (e.g., the 2001 Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy and Suicide Prevention Australia’s 2010 Lifetime Research Award).