Robyn McDermott is Professor of Public Health Medicine at the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention James Cook University, Senior Clinical Research Fellow (Queensland),  NHMRC Practitioner Fellow and Professor of Public Health in the School of Population Health (UniSA) and the Sansom Institute for Health Research (South Australia).

Robyn previously served as Professor of Public Health Medicine at JCU in Cairns from 2002-4 and prior to that, as Medical Epidemiologist in the Cairns Tropical Public Health Unit from 1995. She has been a Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research in the NT and spent many years working as a clinician and health services manager in rural and remote Australia, and in refugee health in South East Asia in the 1980’s and 90’s.

From 2000 to 2004 she served as Vice President, then President of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and numerous advisory committees to state and commonwealth governments. Robyn has worked as a consultant for WHO, AusAID, the World Bank and State and Commonwealth governments and others, in health services and Public Health.  Her research interests are in chronic disease epidemiology, clinical quality improvement and disease prevention. She has chaired NHMRC Grant Review Panels for Projects, Fellowships and Capacity Building Grants and has had continuous NHMRC funding as lead investigator since 1998, totalling more than $12 million.

Robyn has co-ordinated and taught Masters level courses in Epidemiology and Health Economics while in the Northern Territory, and a new masters course in chronic disease and public health at James Cook University, as well as contributing to undergraduate teaching on the new JCU Medical Course.

Qualifications: MBBS University of Sydney 1978, FAFPHM The Royal Australasian College of Physicians 1990,MPH Harvard University 1993, PhD University of Sydney 2002

  • Robyn's research interests include the epidemiology of chronic disease and health transition, and how primary health care can improve outcomes in resource-poor settings. Her work on improving diabetes care systems in remote far north Queensland resulted in major changes to policy and practice, and was recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as one of the “best 10” projects in 2006 More recently her focus has been the effective translation of research evidence into clinical and public health practice, with attention to systems issues including funding models, policy environment, information systems, workforce development and quality improvement in primary care settings Although coming late to the formal research world, she has earned more than $7 million in NHMRC research grant funding as lead investigator and more than $8million as co-investigator.
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 159+ research outputs authored by Prof Robyn McDermott from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

National Health & Medical Research Council - Boosting Dementia Research Grant

Reducing Dementia Risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Indicative Funding
$1,515,145 over 6 years
The aim of the project is to address these issues through the development of a range of interventions to specifically target the high rates of dementia in Indigenous communities. This project will use a Participatory Action Research approach to enable communities to identify and prioritise dementia risk reduction strategies/potential risk and protective factors. Using a Continuous Quality Improvement Framework, primary health care centries will address modifiable dementia risk factors to change practice and systems through the development of culturally appropriate interventions. The outcome will be a culturally appropriate framework that incorporates evidence-based best-practice guidelines for delivering community specific interventions for risk reduction and prevention of dementia.
Edward Strivens, Sarah G Russell, Rachel Quigley, Sarah Larkins, Robyn McDermott, Venessa Curnow, Kate Smith, Prabha Lakhan and Veronica Matthews in collaboration with Alan Cass, Yvonne Hornby-Turner, Desley Harvey, Leon Flicker, Dina LoGiudice, Frankie Clive, Gavin Miller, Dallas McKeown and Gail Garvey (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Queensland Health, University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney, Menzies School of Health Research, The University of Queensland, University of Melbourne and North Queensland Primary Health Network)
Indgenous Health; Healthy Ageing; Dementia; Chronic Disease

National Health & Medical Research Council - Targeted Call for Research into Healthy Ageing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

A framework for healthy ageing in the Torres Strait

Indicative Funding
$1,100,540 over 6 years
The aim of this project is to develop a culturally appropriate framework of healthy ageing for Torres Strait Comjmunities to enable older persons to remain living well at hme and on Country for as long as possible. Participatory Action Research (PAR) within a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) framework will be the overarching lmethodology for this project. The scope of the framework will be guided by the World Health organisation Framework of Healthy Ageing encompassing both intrinsic capacity and environmental characteristics that influence health outcomes.
Edward Strivens, Sarah G Russell, Leon Flicker, Dina LoGiudice, Kate Smith, Rachel Quigley, Robyn McDermott, Sean Taylor, Venessa Curnow and Sarah Larkins in collaboration with Betty Sagigi, Desley Harvey, Dympna Leonard, Elizabeth Beattie, Gavin Miller, Jennifer Mann, Nancy Pachana and Yvonne Hornby-Turner (College of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Australia, Melbourne Health, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Health, Queensland University of Technology, Not in list?.. and The University of Queensland)
Indigenous Health; Chronic Disease; healthy ageing; Dementia

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Grant

Providing kidney care close to home: Evaluating the Cape York Kidney Care model.

Indicative Funding
$49,978 over 2 years
The Cape York Kidney Care team is an integrated and multidisciplinary health care team that was formed in September 2019 to provide consistent, frequent and client centred tertiary-level (specialist) care, in the communities of the Western Cape, Far North Queensland. This project will evaluate this program with respect to health outcomes, cost efficiency, and explore implementation factors that are enablers or barrier to the success of the program. The results will provide evidence for investment or disinvestment in this new service model and will provide an evaluation plan for rollout of future services.
Andrea Miller, Leanne Brown, Alice Cairns, Jacquelyne Hughes, Murty Mantha, Sanjeewa Kularatna, Robyn McDermott and Wendy Hoy (JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health, Torres & Cape Hospital & Health Service, Flinders University, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Queensland University of Technology, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and The University of Queensland)
Chronic Kidney Disease; Integrated care; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health; Cost-effectiveness; Evaluation

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Research Assistance Scheme

Long term predictors of dementia and cognitive impairment among Indigenous Australians in the Torres Strait and Cape York

Indicative Funding
$6,000 over 1 year
Indigenous Australians experience rates of dementia three times higher than the non-Indigenous population. This group also has high levels of early to mid-life chronic disease rates and adverse social risk factors, which have been predictive of dementia and cognitive impairment in other populations. It is likely these elevated risk factors are contributing to the increased prevalence of later life dementia. The current study aims to link three existing datasets spanning 20 years, to identify factors that are predictive and protective for later life cognitive impairment in a cohort of Indigenous Australians living in the Torres Strait and Cape York.
Fintan Thompson and Robyn McDermott (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Indiegnous Health; Dementia; Data linkaeg; Epidemiology; Cross cultural cognitive assessment; Chronic Disease

Menzies School of Health Research - HOT NORTH Fellowship

Evaluation framework for community rehabilitation services in remote northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$46,770 over 1 year
An evauluation framework for community rehabilitation services in northern Australian will be developed. In Stage 1, a guiding framework will be revised following a systematic literature review. In Stage 2, routinely collected data relevant to the framework will be identified through data scoping. In Stage 3 the framework will be refined using a modified Delphi consensus approach and in Stage 4, tested for data accuracy and to determine rules for application. Processes and outcomes responsive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be prioritied. This evaluation framework will enable continuous quality improvement, benchmarking against national standards and evidence-informed investment.
Alice Cairns, Ruth Barker and Robyn McDermott (JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health, College of Healthcare Sciences and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Evaluation; Rehabilitation; Health Services; Allied Health; Aboriginal And Torres Strait Youth

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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • We tried that and it didn’t work: Is measured implementation of health programs the secret to health improvement (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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