My research interests bridge the local with the global. I am a passionate North Queenslander who has the privilege of working with like-minded global partners. I believe all tropical communities deserve the most appropriate, accessible and affordable health systems.  Since 2009 I have been an active member of the Training for Health Equity Network (THEnet), a global collaboration of health professional schools aspiring to be socially accountable. I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the  World Summit on Social Accountability; ‘Improving the Impact of Educational Institutions on People’s Health’ (to be held in Tunis in 2017).

Prior to commencing employment at JCU in 2005, I worked for the Australian government and NGOs in Australia, South-East Asia and the UK. I enjoy working with communities and community-based organisations on participatory research and evaluation projects.

I am an inter-disciplinary researcher (traveller) with a background in anthropology, health promotion and global health. I welcome enquires from honours and postgraduate students from any College who aspire to solve the wicked problems of our health and social systems.

  • HS5102: Qualitative Research Methods for Health Professionals (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS7500: Research Project 1 (Level 7; TSV)
  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD2011: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 1 of 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • MD2012: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 2 of 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • MD3000: Selective Study (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD6010: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 1 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6020: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 2 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6030: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 3 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • The Training for Health Equity Network (a collaboration of 13 health professional schools aspiring to be socially accountable)
  • Participatory evaluation and research for communities and the community sector
  • Socially accountable health professional schools
  • Community and health sector partnerships
  • Research, teaching and service leaning partnerships between community and social service organisations and medical schools.
  • Health promoting schools and links with health professional education
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Health Promotion
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Project and program planning for community and health services
  • 2011 to 2014 - PhD Student, School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2008 to 2014 - Lecturer, School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2006 to 2008 - Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development Officer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2005 to 2006 - Research Officer, Rural Health Research Unit, School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2017 - JCU Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2011 to 2014 - Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship
  • 2011 to 2014 - School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2011-2014 Top-up Scholarship
  • 2017 to 2018 - Towards Unity for Health Conference Scientific Committee
  • 2017 - Charles Boelen International Social Accountability Award - Selection Committee
  • 2016 to 2017 - Taskforce Chair, Integrating Medicine and Public Health, The Network, Towards Unity for Health
  • 2016 to 2017 - Scientific Committee of the World Summit on Social Accountability.

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
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 19+ research outputs authored by Dr Robyn Preston from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Department of Health - Pharmacy Trial Program

Integratetd Practice Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

Indicative Funding
$1,040,046 over 3 years (administered by Pharmaceutical Society of Australia)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a much higher burden of disease due to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems. Many deaths from these illnesses can be prevented if patients are better supported to take their medicines and prescribing quality is improved. This trial will explore if including a practice pharmacist in the primary health care team within Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) leads to improvements in the quality of care that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive. Our trial will tell us if prescribing by doctors is improved, if patients are more likely to take their medicines, and if indicators of their health are improving over time.
Sophie Couzos, Rhondda Jones, Emily Callander, Erik Biros, Deborah Smith, Michelle Bellingan, Beverley Glass, Priscilla Page, Donald Whaleboat, Robyn Preston, Nicole Bates, Douglas Boyle, Vicki Slinko, Roderick Wright, Nadia Lusis, Elizabeth Moore and Kathryn Panaretto (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Health Council, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Gidgee Healing Mount Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Ltd)
Aboriginal Health; integrated health care; continuing quality improvement; Primary Health Care; practice pharmacist; community based participatory research

Department of Health - Contract Research

National Research Project on Remote Radiology Assessment Service Delivery

Indicative Funding
$350,000 over 3 years
This project will investigate outcomes of the BreastScreen Australia remote radiology assessment trial at sites through9out Australia. Engaging a remote radiologist may assist with overcoming many challenges associated with providing health services in a regional, rural or remote location. This project seeks to ensure that the alternative model of service delivery is appropriate for consumers, evidence-based and safe. Specifically, this project will assess how the new remote radiology model affects: - Patient safety - Patient acceptability - Staff acceptability of new model of service provision - The safe, efficient organisation of BreastScreen services
Sarah Larkins, Rebecca Evans, Robyn Preston, Emily Callander, Sabe Sabesan, Leila Murison, Karen Johnston and Nicole Bates (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Townsville Hospital and Health Service)
rural health services; breast cancer screening; Telehealth; Radiology; Health Workforce

Western Queensland Primary Care Collaborative Limited - Contract Research

Diabetes Collaborative Evaluation Project

Indicative Funding
The diabetes collaborative is a Continuous quality Improvement (CQI) approach to change that aims to improve health outcomes for patients diagnosed with Diabetes. It involves the introduction of a team-based, sustainable approach to learning whilst providing a sound understanding and application of quality improvement methodology and skills. This project aims to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the WQPHN diabetes collaborative. Expected outcomes of the equation will be a greater understanding of the process of implementation and any changes within participant health services as a result of the collaborative. Evaluation of the program in the rural and remote context of WQPHN will inform on feasibility and effectiveness of this approach.
Sarah Larkins, Karen Carlisle, Sabina Knight, Rebecca Evans, Robyn Preston and Karen Johnston (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Division of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Quality Improvement Approach; Primary Health Care; Diabetes

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

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.

  • Investigating dementia in Fiji: access to dementia care for sufferers, caregivers and service providers (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Enhancing Current International Human Research Ethics Guidelines by Including Indigenous Principles of Human Research Ethics. The Cases of the Pacific Island Nations of Fiji and Tonga. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • What is the economic and social impacts of Monash University, School of Rural Health - Bairnsdale, on the East Gippsland Community - Victoria (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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  • 39.211, Medical 1 (Townsville campus)
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