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 and Ageing Well National Challenge. 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 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

A community-based psychosocial group treatment for older adults with loneliness
Loneliness affects about 10% of older New Zealanders. It is associated with higher death rates and poorer health outcomes. There has been no previous NZ clinical trial on reducing loneliness among older adults. Overseas experiences suggest psychosocial group treatment can be effective for improving loneliness and health outcomes, and it is cost-effective. We therefore propose a NZ multi-centre study to investigate the benefits of a community based psychosocial group treatment for older adults with loneliness. Our novel group treatment uses a combination of interpersonal psychotherapy, creative art and meditative breathing to address loneliness. 

This HRC funded feasibility study involves two Age Concern branches (Auckland and Otago). Its principle methodology is to find out the feasibility of recruiting older adults through Age Concern and the district health boards' interRAI assessment process; training and supervision of group facilitators to deliver the group treatment; participants’ adherence and drop-out rates; and costs. 

Teaching | Current

Director of Academic Programme, Auckland Regional Psychiatric Training Programme




Areas of expertise

Old Age Psychiatry

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Martinez-Ruiz, A., Huang, Y., Gee, S., Jamieson, H., & Cheung, G. (2020). Individual risk factors for possible undetected dementia amongst community-dwelling older people in New Zealand. Dementia (London, England), 19 (3), 750-765. 10.1177/1471301218786277
  • 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+). BJPsych Bulletin, 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

Contact details

Alternative contact

Extension number: 89491

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3031
New Zealand