He took his Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree (graduated with Distinction in 1982) and specialty in Psychiatry (Sp. Psych, 1989) from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. In 1992 he became Docent in Psychiatry (P.D.) – Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey and was received as Associate Professor following State Examination.
Currently, as the Team Coordinator for the Classifications, Terminologies and Standards in the Health Statistics and Informatics Department at the World Health Organization, Dr. Üstün is responsible for: WHO’s Family of International Classifications (ICD, ICF and other health classifications); WHO’s activities on terminologies: standardized definitions and applications, and WHO’s activities on Health Information Standards: compilations of standards on health information.
Dr. Üstün has worked in the World Health Organization as an international health officer for the last 20 years of his career. From 1989 to 1998, he worked in the WHO Department of Mental Health where he created and managed multiple international networks on: Mental Health Epidemiology; Classification and Assessment of Mental Health and Disability, and Primary Health Care projects for mental health programmes.
Since 1999, Dr. Üstün has worked in the Information, Evidence and Research cluster where he was in charge of Classifications, Terminologies and Standards. His key achievements have consisted in:
– Formulating WHO Classifications (e.g. ICD, ICF) as a suite of tools to that enable a meaningful exchange of standard health information among users
– Establishing the ICF: International Classification Functioning, Disability and Health in six official languages – a first in WHO history
– Managing the ICD revision process: currently on track to produce ICD-11 by 2014
– Leading WHO initiatives on Standardized Health Terminologies with global partners
– Creating standard definitions and classifications of Traditional Medicine practices in East Asia
Between 2000-2004 he has managed the WHO’s World Health Surveys (WHS) as an international data collection platform to gather reliable and comparable data on health and health systems in collaboration with some 100 countries and multi-disciplinary international experts. With his team, they have created a survey information base of the participating countries and of past surveys; developed tools and guidelines to monitor data collection and survey quality and a web based reporting system.
Since 1996 he has also been one of the two Co-Principle Investigators of the World Mental Health Surveys in 20 countries in different parts of the world that compiles epidemiological data for mental, behavioural and substance use disorders all over the world and serves to provide data for the diagnosis, disability, services, and other parameters related to mental health in comparison to overall health.
1983-1985 General Practitioner, Primary Health Care Centre at Edirne, Turkey
1985-1989 Research Fellow: Hacettepe University, Department of Psychiatry, Ankara, Turkey
1989-1990 Assistant Professor: Hacettepe University, Department of Psychiatry, Ankara, Turkey
1990- 1998 Scientist, Senior Scientist and Chief: World Health Organization, Division of Mental Health, Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Üstün has been involved in various international mental health activities, and has been invited as a consultant and a reviewer for numerous worldwide projects, grants, awards, meetings, and publications.
Dr Üstün is the author and co-author of more than 150 articles, eight books on mental health, primary care and disability that have been published in over 5 languages.