Tom Birkenhäger obtained his medical degree from the Erasmus University (1984), and trained as psychiatrist in the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam and Psychiatric Centre Bloemendaal in The Hague. Registration as psychiatrist took place in 1991. From 1993 until 2002 he worked as psychiatrist and researcher at the depression unit of Psychiatric Centre Bloemendaal. From 2002 until 2003 he worked at the Mood disorder clinic of the UMC Utrecht. He received a PhD degree in psychiatry at the Erasmus University Medical School in 2004. Since 2003, he is working as a psychiatrist and researcher at the depression unit of the department of Psychiatry of the Erasmus MC. In 2005 he received the award (together with Walter van den Broek) for the most interesting PhD thesis at the “promovendi primeur “ symposium, Delft. In 2006 He received the ECT investigator’s award by the editorial board of the Journal of ECT in Toronto, Canada. Since 2001 he is a member of the editorial board of the website www.psychiatrienet.nl,
section Depressive disorders. He has been member of the committee for both the Guideline for Major Depression in adults (2005) and the guideline for Electroconvulsive therapy (2010). Since 2010 he is deputy director of psychiatric residency training at the Department of psychiatry.
Dr. Birkenhäger has a special interest in clinical research; his main topics are the pharmacological treatment of severely depressed patients, electroconvulsive therapy and the methodology of treatment studies. He participates in several clinical trials with depressed patients, both in medication studies and in studies on electroconvulsive therapy. Some of this research is in collaboration with other Dutch universities.