Dr Gary Cheung



I am a researcher in the field of old age psychiatry. After working full time as a specialist old age psychiatrist for 8 years, I joined the Department of Psychological Medicine in 2012. I completed my PhD in 2018. I am one of the very few researchers studying suicidal behaviour in older people in New Zealand.

I co-lead the translation and research of cognitive stimulation therapy (CST), an evidence-based psychosocial treatment for dementia, in New Zealand. We have received funding from Te Pou, Dementia Auckland and Brain Research NZ. We have trained about 200 health professionals to provide CST across Australia and New Zealand. We recently contributed to the New Zealand chapter in an international textbook on CST.


Our current CST research include integrating cognitve stimulation with a fall prevention programme, combining CST with Chair Yoga, and adapting CST for Māori and Pasifika people with mild to moderate dementia.

I am a Principal Investigator and member of the Theme 4 leadership team of Brain Research New Zealand - A Centre of Research Excellence. I am a member of the Dementia Prevention Research Clinics, a longitudinal study of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nationally, I collaborate with the interRAI research team at the University of Canterbury; I am a named investigator in an HRC funded research project (Using interRAI to improve identification and management of frailty) and a University of Otago Research Grant (Predictors of entry into residential care for older people living with multiple sclerosis). Internationally, I collaborate interRAI research with the University of Waterloo (Canada), the Unviersity of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Since 2012 I have supervised/co-supervised 14 psychiatry registrars in research project as part of their fellowship programme (8 completed and 6 resulted in a publication).

Research | Current

Decision-making capacity assessment: The experiences and educational needs of New Zealand General Practitioners

The purpose of this study is to explore how General Practitioners in New Zealand approach and experience capacity assessment.

Capacity assessment is difficult for many reasons, including time pressure, complicated legalities, family dynamics, and lack of formal education.

Furthermore, capacity assessment is posing clinical, legal and ethical challenges worldwide. This is especially due to the ageing population and an increase in neurocognitive disorders which compromises people’s cognitive function and decision-making capacity. 

By conceptualising the unique challenges faced by New Zealand General Practitioner when conducting such assessments, we aim to inform the development of educational programmes and resources.

We are seeking General Practitioners who have worked for at least one year in New Zealand, to participate in a confidential approximately 45 minute phone interview.

Principal researchers: Dr Gary Cheung & Dr Alisha Vara. Other researchers are: Dr Marcus Henning, Dr Frederick Sundram, Prof Ngaire Kerse, Dr Greg Young, and Alison Douglass.

If you are interested in this study, or would like more information, please contact alishavara@gmail.com



Teaching | Current

Director of Academic Programme, Auckland Regional Psychiatric Training Programme




Areas of expertise

Old Age Psychiatry

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Stone, C., Copeland, B., Collier, C., & Cheung, G. (2019). Memory clinic survey in New Zealand: a second look. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 27 (5), 486-490. 10.1177/1039856219852299
  • Walsh, L., Chacko, E., & Cheung, G. (2019). The process of determining driving safety in people with dementia: A review of the literature and guidelines from 5 English speaking countries. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 27 (5), 480-485. 10.1177/1039856219848828
  • Cheung, G., Bailey, A., Subau, D., & Martínez-Ruiz A (2019). International Perspectives on Old Age Psychiatry Training. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 27 (7), 695-705. 10.1016/j.jagp.2018.12.021
  • James, M., Buckingham, B., Cheung, G., McKay, R., Painter, J., & Stewart, M. W. (2018). Review and update of the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Elderly People (HoNOS65+). Psychiatrist, 42 (6), 248-252. 10.1192/bjb.2018.68
  • Cheung, G., Gale, C., & Menkes, D. B. (2018). What affects completion of the scholarly project? A survey of RANZCP trainees. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 26 (5), 545-550. 10.1177/1039856218772250
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Menkes
  • Cullum, S., Mullin, K., Zeng, I., Yates, S., Payman, V., Fisher, M., & Cheung, G. (2018). Do community-dwelling Māori and Pacific peoples present with dementia at a younger age and at a later stage compared with NZ Europeans?. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, 33 (8), 1098-1104. 10.1002/gps.4898
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Cullum, Susan Yates
  • Cheung, G., Sims, A., Copeland, B., Collins, C., & Bharathan, S. (2018). The third New Zealand Psychiatry of Old Age services and workforce survey. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 26 (4), 405-409. 10.1177/1039856218765891
  • Kiriaev, O., Chacko, E., Jurgens, J. D., Ramages, M., Malpas, P., & Cheung, G. (2018). Should capacity assessments be performed routinely prior to discussing advance care planning with older people?. International psychogeriatrics, 30 (8), 1243-1250. 10.1017/s1041610217002836
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45596
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Phillipa Malpas

Contact details

Alternative contact

Extension number: 89491

Primary office location

Level 12, Room 12003
New Zealand