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Dr. Robyn Preston

BA(DevSt) (Hons), PGCertDisasRefugHlth, GCertEd, MHealthSc(HealthProm), PhD
Senior Lecturer - Public Health
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research
(07) 4726 5395
B2 - 2.03
About Me

My teaching focuses on engaging future health professionals in how to work in partnership with the most marginalised members of their communities. I specialise in health promotion, community engagement and research methods.

I am a public health-focused social scientist with research interests in health services and health professions education.I have three interlinked research areas: 1) Access to health services for under-served communities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, refugees; rural and remote peoples; 2) Socially Accountable Health Professional Education; and 3) Health Promotion in the tropics. The development of these research areas are also linked to my teaching; service and engagement.

I am a health promotion and community development practitioner with international and Australian experience.My service roles combine my local interest in health promotion/public health and national and international focus on socially accountable health professions education and health services development. I am recognised internationally for my expertise in socially accountable health professions education and locally for connecting community groups and health promotion professionals with the university.

Universities Studied At

James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

The Australian National University, Canberra

Universities Worked At

James Cook University


2018 JCU Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning Cohort Doctoral Studies Program Team

2017 JCU Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning First year social medicine team

2016 Early Career Researcher winner 3 minute thesis Competition Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, JCU

2011-2014 Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship, Living Allowance/Scholarship

2011-2014 School of Medicine and Dentistry, Top-up Scholarship

2014 Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Science, Graduate Research Scheme Grant

2012 School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University Graduate Research Scheme Grant

2012 Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Science, Graduate Research Student Grant

2011 School of Medicine and Dentistry Student Support Scheme Grant

2005 Department of Health and Ageing, Research Capacity Building, Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH), Research Development Program Fellow Grant (Primary Health Care Research Evaluation Development)

Previous teaching

2005 - 2018 College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University I developed and delivered face to face social medicine content to Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) students with class sizes of up to 190 students. My teaching expertise was in public health, underserved populations, health systems and research methods. I also designed Postgraduate Research Methods and Health Professions Education subjects for on-line delivery to local and international students. I developed the first on-line course in the college.

2016 – 2018 Cohort Doctoral Studies Mentor, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University The Cohort Doctoral Studies Program is designed to support and nurture doctoral students through their studies by providing workshops, seminars, coursework, peer learning facilitation and writing workshops in a cohort model where students commence and progress through their program as a group. I mentored PhD students in the health sciences, designed and delivered workshops and assisted with the recruitment and selection of students. I have particular expertise in mentoring Aboriginal students, rural and remote students, and students from lower and middle income countries.

2005-2015 I was an occasional tutor and lecturer for Masters of Public and Tropical Health and Allied Health students in research methods and health promotion.

As an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, I currently supervise of three PhD students, one postgraduate (research) student and one honours students. I have also supervised short Masters level projects, summer scholarships and mentored international students through JCU’s collaboration with the Fijian National University. I have one completed MBBS (Hons) student who graduated with first class honours in 2018.

  • Experiences of dementia in Fiji: perspectives of people with dementia, caregivers, community 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 , Primary Advisor)

Professional Experience

I have a background in international development, health promotion and community development

Professional Memberships

Australian Health Promotion Association

Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators


2017 - Current : Charles Boelen International Social Accountability Award - Selection Committee

Professional Interests

  • 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

Industry Reports

Department of Health - Contract Research: National Research Project on Remote Radiology Assessment Service Delivery (2019)

Department of Health - Pharmacy Trial Program - Integrated Practice Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (2019)


Associate Editor, Australian Journal of Primary Health 

Associate Editor, Focus on Health Professional Education

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • Other Medical and Health Sciences
  • Specialist Studies in Education
  • Anthropology
  • Public Health and Health Services

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Checking For Students Supervised
Research Interests

Curriculum and Pedagogy - Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy

Medical And Health Sciences

Public Health and Health Services - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Medical And Health Sciences

Public Health and Health Services - Health Promotion

Medical And Health Sciences

Public Health and Health Services - Primary Health Care

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