Field of Research (FoR)
Professor Robyn Richmond has over many years been principal investigator of numerous research projects designed to reduce smoking prevalence and risky alcohol consumption in the Australian community. These projects have been conducted in general practice, hospitals, medical schools, and in the workplace. She has been carrying out research for over 30 years. Over the past 15 years, a major focus of her research work in tobacco has targeted...view more
Professor Robyn Richmond has over many years been principal investigator of numerous research projects designed to reduce smoking prevalence and risky alcohol consumption in the Australian community. These projects have been conducted in general practice, hospitals, medical schools, and in the workplace. She has been carrying out research for over 30 years. Over the past 15 years, a major focus of her research work in tobacco has targeted disadvantaged and marginalised people with high risk lifestyle behaviours including: Indigenous persons, prison inmates and people with a mental illness.
For nearly 30 years she has trained general practitioners and other health professionals, such as practice nurses and pharmacists, in Australia and globally to assist smokers to change their unhealthy lifestyle habits. As part of an expert panel, she has developed the smoking cessation guidelines for Australian general practice in 2004. These guidelines have been revised and updated 3 times, most recently in 2014.
During Robyn's academic career, she has published over 165 papers in refereed journals, 35 books and booklets and 22 chapters in books. Her H index is 42. She has authored or co-authored over 280 presentations at national and international conferences. She teaches at UNSW at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervises medical (ILPs) Masters and PhD students, and has developed training programs for health professionals.
Society Memberships & Professional Activities since 2000:
- Member: Expert Panel: Revised Guidelines, Commonwealth Dept of Health and Ageing: 2004, 2007 (revised 2009), 2011 (revised 2014)
- Member: Expert Panel: Therapeutic Guidelines: Psychotropics: smoking cessation: 2012-2013
- Member: NSW Health Project Advisory Committee, Smoking in Pregnant Aboriginal Women: 2009-2012
- Member: The Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and Drugs (APSAD): 2004-2016
- Member: Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA): 2003-2012
- Member: Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT): 1996-ongoing
- Member: Global Network on Tobacco, SRNT: 2005-ongoing
- Member: Public Health Association, NSW Branch: 1984-2012
- Treasurer: Public Health Association, NSW Branch: 1985-1986
- Vice President: Public Health Association, NSW Branch: 1989-1990
- Member: Expert Panel: Evidence based guidelines for alcohol treatment for GPs, drug and alcohol workers, general hospital workers and consumers, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care: 2002
- Member: Expert Panel Research priorities for a national alcohol program, Commonwealth Dept of Health and Ageing: 2001
- Member: NSW Research and Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Heart Foundation: 1999-2002
Board and Committee Memberships
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Executive Committee. 2016 - present
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Academic Committee. 2016 -present
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Academic Programs Committee. 2016 -present
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Assessment Committee. 2016 -present
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Teaching and Learning Committee. 2016 –present
- Organising committee: 2nd UNSW Postgraduate Research Symposium. Where the marginal matters: strengthening transdisciplinary connections in postgraduate health research on sex, drugs and risk. 2015.
- Committee member: UNSW Faculty of Medicine Higher Degree Committee, representing the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. 2011 – 2016 and 1997 - 2009
- Chair of judging panel: Peter Baume Public Impact Award, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales. 2010 -present
- Board member: School of Public Health and Community Medicine School Board. 2009 -present
- Committee member: School of Public Health and Community Medicine Operations Committee. 2008 -present
- Coordinator: School of Public Health and Community Medicine Senior Postgraduate Coordinator. 1997 – 2003 and 2008 – 2016
- Director: School of Public Health and Community Medicine Postgraduate Research Degree Programs. 2008-2016
- Deputy Editor and Tobacco Editor: Drug and Alcohol Review: 2003-2016
- Board Member: Academic Board, University of New South Wales: 2002-2004
- Board Member: Research Committee of the Academic Board, UNSW: 2002-2004
- Assistant Editor: Addiction: 2000-2012
- Assistant Editor: Monaldi Archives for Chest Diseases: 1996-2000
- Board Member: Community Health and Anti-Tuberculosis Association (CHATA) now known as the Respiratory Institute: 1994-2005
- Board Member: Social Science Policy Research Centre, UNSW: 1990-1995
Specific Research Keywords:
Smoking Cessation, Alcohol Misuse, Clinical education, Public Health, Centenarian Health
Current research projects:
Treating co-morbid depression and nicotine dependence in primary care: a pilot study of integrated internet and practice-based support (Webquit); funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Do prisoners who are released to the community maintain their abstinence following a smoking ban in NSW prisons?; funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
A non-inferiority trial of cytisine versus varenicline for smoking cessation; funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use: Translating innovative prevention and treatment; funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Worldwide survey of education on tobacco in medical schools: twenty years on; unfunded.
MA University of Sydney
MHEd University of New South Wales
PhD University of New South Wales
DSc University of New South Wales
Professor Robyn Richmond’s work has been recognised by numerous awards and distinctions by her scientific and public health peers for her eminent career in research and translation of research findings into practice, policy and education for the benefit of Australians. These prestigious honours are testimonies to the high esteem and standing she is held in by her peers and health organisations. She has received awards for the range of her public work including awards for leadership in research, outstanding public health teaching and training, and for her wide-ranging community and public health activities which have all lead to significant improvement in the nation’s health through raising awareness of risk factors and providing interventions to change behaviour. The following is a list of 18 awards she has won with some links for further information.
- The Public Health Association Mentor of the Year Award 2012 (September 2012) is made to a senior member of PHAA who has made a significant contribution to mentoring early-career professionals/ practitioners/students. The award acknowledges a public health professional who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to mentoring students/early career professionals/practitioners. Its purpose is to formally acknowledge the importance of mentoring in career development and in recognition of the time commitments and other sacrifices that are involved for mentors. Mentoring plays an important role in developing proficiency and increase the capacity of the objects of the Association. The award recognises the significance of the mentoring in promoting excellence in research, education, professional and personal development, in building capacity in public health practice, in providing career development opportunities, in advancing knowledge and potential for improvement of population health, in respect of time commitments and other sacrifices made by the mentor and in encouragement of service to PHAA. Please see article on page 7 of the Globe newsletter (Dec 2012) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
- The Mental Health Award for Research and Evaluation was awarded to the UNSW Prison Research Team for research among prisoners in NSW and QLD prisons to reduce tobacco use (October, 2011). Professor Richmond leads this team which includes Professor Kay Wilhelm, Dr Alex Wodak, Dr Devon Indig, Professor Tony Butler and Ms Vicki Archer. “The winners have demonstrated a significant contribution to the knowledge base and understanding of mental health issues, the relevance of their work to current service delivery, and have demonstrated their plans for sharing their findings.” The award plaque and prize was presented by the Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Kevin Humphries, MP. Please see article on page 6 of the Globe newsletter (dec 2011) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine:
- National Drug and Alcohol Honour Roll (June, 2011) Professor Robyn Richmond was inducted into the prestigious Honour Roll of Fame at the National Drug and Alcohol Assoc. "The Honour Roll acknowledges and publicly recognises the exceptional work done by people who have worked tirelessly over a number of years in this sector". Please see article on page 7 of the Globe newsletter (Sept 2011) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine
- Public Health Impact Award 2011 recognises “outstanding contributions to a public health issue by a dedicated public health professional working to improve the health of the population and reduce health inequalities”. (Received July 2011) The PHIA recognises health professionals who have made a significant impact on an important public health issue in Australia, particularly in NSW; who have developed innovative solutions to problems; demonstrated a high degree of excellence; overcome substantial barriers in the design, implementation or evaluation of a program of work; communicated their efforts so others may benefit; generated public and/or professional enthusiasm and support for a public health initiative; and who have promoted the concept of public health. Please see article on page 7 of the Globe newsletter (Sept 2011) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
- Senior Scientist Award from the Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and Drugs (APSAD) for “outstanding contribution to research and practice”. The Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and Drugs is the eminent national organisation catering to the professional interests of the drug and alcohol workers in Australasia. The membership of APSAD is drawn from such diverse specialties such as practitioners, educators, policy specialists and academics. The APSAD Senior Scientist award is for excellence in science and research and designed to provide peer recognition for those working in the drug and alcohol field in Australasia. The award was presented to Robyn Richmond at the APSAD Conference in Darwin, November, 2009. Please see article on page 6 of the Globe newsletter (Dec 2009) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine:
- The Mental Health Award for Research and Evaluation “recognises individuals or organisations that have completed groundbreaking mental health related research studies, programs or initiatives, and whose findings have significant implications for the mental health field” (received October, 2009). The award plaque and cheque was presented to Robyn Richmond by the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir on 7 October, 2009. The collaborators with Robyn Richmond for this award were Professor A Baker and Dr F Kay-Lambkin. Please see article on page 6 of the Globe newsletter (Dec 2009) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine:
- The UNSW Research Showcase Award for best presentation for the Australian Centenarian Study. Positive Ageing: How to live to 100 years by authors Robyn Richmond, Frances Kay-Lambkin and Jenaleen Law. August, 2009. Please see article on page 6 of the Globe newsletter (Dec 2009) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine:
- Peter Baume Award was awarded to Robyn Richmond in May, 2009 for “significant international impact and career achievement in public health”. Please see article on cover page of the Globe newsletter (June 2009) from the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine:
- Victorian Public Healthcare Awards - Highly Commended - Strengthening the capacity of individuals, families and communities through effective prevention and health promotion. The Healthy Lifestyles Project (2008).
- Victorian Public Healthcare Awards - Highly Commended - Premier's Award for Excellence in tackling chronic disease and improving public health. The Healthy Lifestyles Project (2008).
- National Institute of Clinical Studies Evidence into Action Award is awarded for the paper or poster that best demonstrates improving health care by closing an identified gap between the available evidence and clinical practice, within Australian health care settings. The poster presentation: The Healthy Lifestyles Project among women with psychosis (Filia, S., Baker, A., Richmond, R., et al) won this award at the 3rd International Congress on Women's Mental Health, March, 2008.
- 2006 Schizophrenia Research Institute Research Paper Award. In recognition of publication of a high profile study in schizophrenia research (in a peer-reviewed journal with an impact factor greater than 7) awarded to Baker, A., Richmond, R., et al (2006). A randomised controlled trial of a smoking cessation intervention among people with a psychotic disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 1934-1942.
- The President’s Award of the Thoracic Society is given each year by the President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand “in recognition of outstanding effort, leadership and achievement in combating the use of tobacco”. The award was presented to Robyn Richmond during the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane in March 2001.
- The Goethe Endowment for Non-Smoking Committee in Germany, in conjunction with the German Medical Society, awarded Robyn Richmond the Goethe Challenge Trophy. She was awarded the Trophy “for exemplary activities in tobacco control and extraordinary contributions in the fight against tobacco”; for “the outstanding leadership of Professor Robyn Richmond in anti-smoking activities and excellence in promoting a smoke-free environment especially among health care professionals and who has actively promoted research and teaching that have benefited people near and far” and “for excellence in promoting a smoke-free environment, especially among health care professionals, thus making an example for society at large”. She was awarded the International Goethe Challenge Trophy for 2000-2001 for her work in research into smoking cessation in various community contexts; such as research into teaching medical students and physicians about smoking; workplace initiatives in smoking cessation; non smoking policy formation; and development of smoking cessation clinics at hospitals.
- Awarded the Sir Anthony Mason Fellowship in 1996 for “researchers of note” to conduct research in Asian countries collaborating with the University of New South Wales.
- Australian Hospital Association's National Community Outreach Award in 1996 for the “Health is Gold” project among the Vietnamese community in the South Western Sydney Area Health Service (SWSAHS), in which she contributed to the training of GPs in the SWSAHS in the Smokescreen program and advised on development of the Smokescreen resources which were translated into Vietnamese.
- The Smokescreen video won a national Australian award at the Australian Corporate, Educational and Training Video Awards in 1991. It was also nominated as a finalist in the Festival of Health Promotion Films in San Francisco in 1992. She collaborated with Drs Stephen Faux and David Whitten ensuring that content elements of the Smokescreen program were included in the video that was based on the revised Smokescreen program. Parts of the Smokescreen video were incorporated in the World Health Organization video made for health professionals which was distributed widely to mark World No Tobacco Day in 1995.
- World Health Organization Nomination in 1986. The Commonwealth Department of Health nominated the Smokescreen GP program as Australia's representative for the World Health Organization's Sasakawa Health Prize. The prize is for "outstanding and innovative work in health development, promotion of health programmes and notable advances in primary health care, in order to encourage the future development of such work" (Dr. H. Mahler, Director-General, WHO).
My Research Activities
For over 30 years Professor Robyn Richmond has been an innovator and leader in scientific research in public health particularly in the areas of smoking cessation in general practice and among high risk groups, and in introducing curricula on tobacco control in medical schools globally. She has carried out public health research to reduce smoking prevalence and risky alcohol consumption in numerous settings including general practice, workplace, prisons, hospitals, community health services, and in medical schools. Over the past 15 years, a major focus of her research work in tobacco has targeted disadvantaged and marginalised people with high risk lifestyle behaviours including: Indigenous persons, prison inmates and people with a mental illness. She has opened up new fields of research in public health for cardiovascular risk factors, whilst significantly advancing existing areas of research focus such as smoking cessation and reduction of risky alcohol consumption. She has embarked on a new area of research in public health – positive ageing, with a focus on centenarians’ health and lifestyles and more recently, she initiated an entirely new area of community research as an investigator into the health of vulnerable people living in displaced persons’ camps in Kenya.
Her studies are mainly randomised controlled trials which take around five to eight years to complete and include long term follow up assessments. Her studies are characterised by a building of research themes over years. One example is her series of studies to reduce smoking and risky alcohol consumption among patients attending their family doctor. Her findings have been the cornerstone of brief interventions for smoking and alcohol in general practice in Australia. Her training of over 11,000 GPs and other health professionals across Australia has led to changes in practice of medicine as GPs now engage in preventive practice.
The main areas of her scientific research in public health over her career include:
- Reduction of smoking among patients attending their general practitioner
- Improvement of health and lifestyles and reduction of cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, risky drinking, overweight, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity) among high risk groups such as Indigenous people, and among disadvantaged populations, such as those with a mental illness and prisoners
- Reduction of smoking and other lifestyle habits among workforce populations – an opportunity to reach young males who do not frequently visit the family doctor
- Evaluation of the use of a range of pharmacotherapies to assist smokers to quit (nicotine gum, nicotine patch, bupropion, nortriptyline and varenicline) to increase scientific knowledge of anti-smoking medications
- Dissemination and evaluation of teaching curricula on tobacco control and smoking cessation in medical and nursing schools globally which includes training of teachers and academics
- Reduction of risky alcohol consumption among patients attending their general practitioner
- Reduction of smoking and risky alcohol consumption among people attending hospital outpatient clinics
- Investigation of centenarian health and lifestyles as examples of positive ageing
- Investigation of the health needs of people living in displaced persons camps in Kenya.
Professor Robyn Richmond’s public health research is the first to:
- Show the general practitioner has an important role in helping smokers to quit tobacco use and risky alcohol drinkers to moderate alcohol use
- Demonstrate that the workplace is a significant context to deliver healthy lifestyle interventions
- Illustrate that people with severe mental illness can improve their cardiac health with comprehensive healthy lifestyle programs
- Illuminate the importance of the prison system, which contains high proportions of Indigenous people, those with a mental illness and drug users, as a setting to assist smokers to quit tobacco use
- Show that centenarians are the fastest growing age segment in Australia and to identify the predictors of living a long life
- Demonstrate that teaching medical students about tobacco can improve knowledge about tobacco control and smoking cessation techniques on a global scale
- Report on the effects of counselling to reduce heavy alcohol consumption among patients in hospital wards, and to identify patients entering emergency wards with alcohol related problems.
Smoking; alcohol use; alcohol interventions; preventive medicine; workplace non - smoking policies; smoking & alcohol interventions; smoking cessation in hospital clinic & workplace general practice implementation of preventive medicine programs.
When Robyn Richmond commenced research among general practitioners (GPs) in 1981, in Australia there were 41% of males and 31% of females who smoked. This was a large public health problem. GPs did not as a rule advise their smoking patients to quit as it was not regarded as a legitimate practice of medicine. Yet, around 80% of patients visit their GP at least once a year, so this was a missed opportunity to assist smokers to quit.
In the 1980s, smoking cessation interventions developed for use by GPs were based on the assumption that most GPs were prepared to engage in preventive…
Prison research: Collaboration with Professor Kay Wilhelm (St Vincent’s Hospital), Dr Alex Wodak (St Vincent’s Hospital), Dr Devon Indig (NSW Justice Health), Professor Tony Butler (Kirby Institute) and Ms Vicki Archer (NSW Justice Health).
Prisons contain high rates of smokers (80%) and significant numbers come from the three main bastions of smokers in Australia: Indigenous people, those with a mental illness and substance users. These…
People with psychosis do not seem to have benefitted from general approaches to tobacco control. Smoking is a major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor for people with psychosis and 73% of males and 56% of females with psychosis are current smokers compared to rates in the general Australian population of 18% for men and 15% for women. Mortality rates due to CVD among people with psychotic disorders are around twice that seen in the Australian general population. The majority of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder smoke, considerably increasing their risk of CVD.
Training professionals in smoking cessation: from left:Trish Fraser (the Union), Professor Robyn Richmond, Professor Harry Lando (University of Minnesota), Dr Karen Bissell (the Union) and not pictured Dr Martin Raw (Professor: Federal University of Sao Paulo, Lecturer: University of Nottingham).
As a consequence of her research in general practice, Robyn Richmond was invited as Australia’s representative to join the International Union…
The UNSW Australian Centenarian Study
Robyn Richmond initiated research examining the predictors of positive ageing and the study team included Dr Frances Kay-Lambkin (University of Newcastle and National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales). The UNSW Australian Centenarian Study comprises interviews with 190 centenarians on their health and lifestyles and was conducted in these Australia states: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, ACT and South Australia. The study of centenarian health reported data on social and cultural factors and…
The 2007 presidential elections in Kenya were followed by significant ethnic violence. Tribes were forced out of their homes, towns and businesses and around 600,000 people across Kenya became displaced with many fleeing to Nakuru and living in internally displaced person’s (IDP) camps. The people residing in the IDP camps are very vulnerable to numerous public health problems related to limited resources, poor sanitation, severe overcrowding, transitory populations and extremely poor nutritional status. Kenya also has one of the world’s worst HIV and AIDS epidemics. Women in the IDP…
For over three decades Professor Robyn Richmond has been an innovator and leader in scientific research in public health particularly in the areas of smoking cessation in general practice and among high risk groups, introducing curricula on tobacco control in medical schools globally, and centenarian health and lifestyles. She has carried out public health research to reduce smoking prevalence and risky alcohol consumption in numerous settings including general practice, workplace, prisons, hospitals, community health services, and in medical schools. Early in her research career,…