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1992 …2024

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Personal profile

Research Biography

Qualifications: RN., RM., ICUCert., DipAppliSci., BN., M.Ed., PhD., ACCCN (Life Member), FACN, FAHA, FCSANZ, FESC.

Prof Robyn A Clark currently holds a joint appointment as Professor of Acute Care and Cardiovascular Research at the Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University & Clinical Chair & Director of Nursing and Midwifery Research at the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network. Prof Robyn Clark is a senior clinician and researcher. She holds qualifications as a Registered Nurse (RN), Registered Midwife (RM) and Critical Care Nurse (ICUCert), a Masters in Adult Education and a PhD in Health Sciences. Prof Clark has been a fully funded full-time researcher for the past 20 years. Prof Clark was the inaugural recipient of the NHMRC National Institute of Clinical Studies (NHMRC-NICS-NHF) PhD scholarship supported by the National Heart Foundation. She received the scholarship for her research on telemonitored heart failure management in rural and remote Australia. She completed an NHMRC Training Fellowship (CIA) 570141 at QUT in 2013. Prof Clark was a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow (2016-2020) and has been awarded a Life Member of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses and Fellowships with the Royal College of Nursing (FRCNA now FACN), a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA), Fellow of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (FCSANZ), Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology (FESC). Prof Clark holds adjunct appointments at the University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), University of Virginian and Edinburgh Napier University.

 

Research Program: Prof Clark has earned international recognition for her research program which can be summarized under the overall theme of increasing ACCESS to evidence-based cardiovascular disease (CVD) care for underserviced and disadvantaged populations this include population groups such as women, the elderly, rural and remote, those with low literacy and socioeconic status, culturally diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Stait Islander people. Her research program has 3 streams. Stream 1 focuses on improving access to heart failure (HF) and CVD services, especially in rural and remote Australia. This research has been recognised for its innovative methods, particularly its emphasis on geographical, epidemiological and clinical outcomes analysis using geographical information systems (GIS). Stream 2 involves digital health to bridge the gap between specialist cardiac centres and populations with limited access to cardiology services or patients with low health literacy. This suite of research includes evaluating telemonitoring and designing Avatar Apps as tools to deliver education and CVD care interventions for Heart Failure, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Chronic Disease. Stream 3 is centred on improving access for patients with cardiotoxicity after cancer treatment to appropriate cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention. Prof Clark has a strong background in clinical trials and linked data analysis and has been working with cancer researchers over the past decade to investigate patient outcomes after cancer treatment. All three streams underpin a cohesive research strategy that aims to improve CVD care outside metropolitan hospitals using digital health strategies.

 

Research Outcomes

Grants: Prof Clark’s career funding to date is >$AUD 20m. This includes 25 Category 1 funded projects. Currently Prof Clark is CI on 7 Category 1 projects (Total $5M) 2 NHMRC Partnership Projects Heart Matters (APP1180281 (CIC); Country Heart Attack Prevention GNT1169893 (CIA). 5 MRFF: APP2016170 (QUICR) CIE; APP2015968 Yolnu Heart Health for Life (CIB): APP 2022828 Consumer-Led Research CIE; APP 2025201 REMOTE-CARE; APP 2025077 CII; Hospital Research Foundation Cardiac Rehabilitation Especially for Women (CREW) CIA and Cardiac Rehab for All (CR4ALL) CIA.

Publications: Prof Clark has a H-index 36 (Google Scholar); i10 index 92 Total >300 peer reviewed publications (>110 past 5 years) 88% as lead (first/last) author. CI Clark has many publications in high-ranking journals such as Circulation (IF39.92), BMJ (IF 93.33), European Journal of Heart Failure (IF15.34) MJA (7.73) Co-author of 2021 Top 10 MJA papers. Total citations are 6337 (3665; 2017) with a mean citation rate of 10.69. Prof Clark’s series of papers including a BMJ and Cochrane Review on Telemonitoring in Heart Failure has been cited > 2,500 times and referenced all 3 major Heart Failure Clinical Guidelines since 2007 (ESC, AHA, CSANZ) Prof Clark also has an altimetric score of 6,404 downloads of the original Cardiac ARIA project report since 2017 are (not included in the citation metrics).

Collaborations: Prof Clark has published with 96 collaborators from 72 institutions and universities, around the world examples include: Edinburgh Napier University, Glasgow University, Queens College Belfast, University of California San Francisco, University of Virginia, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Adelaide University, and the George Institute.

 

Community engagement and participation: Prof Clark’s current professional commitments include serving as Caring Futures Theme Leaders and Member of the Leadership Group ( 2020-2023);  Member SALHN Executive Research Board (2022-pres); Member SALHN Research Week Organizing Committee (2023-pres); Member of the CSANZ and COSA Cardio-oncology National Clinical Practice advisory Group (2021-pres); Member Heart Foundation ACS Guidelines Executive Steering Group (2022-pres); Member SA Aboriginal Heart and Stroke Plan governance group aligned with Transforming Health and in partnership with the SA Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. (2021-pres); Member CSANZ National Scientific Committee 2021-pres; Heart Foundation Expert Steering Group for the Australian clinical guidelines for the management of acute coronary syndromes. (2022-pres); The Australian and New Zealand Nursing and Midwifery Clinical Trials Research Network. (2019-pres); The Commission for Excellence and Innovation in Health SA -Statewide Cardiac Clinical Network Steering Committee (2020-pres); Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) Secondary Prevention Committee Member (2019-pres); Australian and New Zealand Association Clinical Trials (ANZACT) Steering Committee Member (2019-pres); Member Heart Foundation National Research Committee (2018-Pres); Nursing Representative, Research Committee Member—Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) (2020-pres); Member SA Dept Health Cardiac Clinical Network CR Coalition.

Prof Clark’ community engagement has been within The Pinnaroo Arts in Health Project 2019-2023, Aboriginal communities of the Yolnu East Arnhem, Pica Wiya Port Augusta, Ipswich, Kambu Ipswich and the Prince Charles Cardiac Outreach Service, where the Aboriginal heart failure projects are being conducted. She has previously been engaged with rural and remote communities throughout Australia while conducting the Chronic Heart Failure Assistance by Telephone project. Other community engagement has been through the Heart Foundation’s public lectures, Heart Foundation’s Nurse Ambassador Program and Organ Donation lectures as Transplant Coordinator.

 

Professional Involvement

International standing: Prof Clark has presented >100 international and national papers (including as invited, keynote and plenary speaker) at the world’s most important scientific congresses in CVD research, and was elected by her peers, based on her contribution to the field, to deliver the 2020 CSANZ Cardiovascular Nursing Oration. She has received some of the highest research prizes available in her field, including the American Heart Association Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Council’s Clinical Research Paper of the Year (2013), the European Society of Cardiology’s Nursing/Allied Health Professional Investigator Award (2011), the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand’s Nursing Research Prize (2011) and Poster Prize (2008) and the European Society of Cardiology Heart Failure Judges’ Choice Award (2007).

Peer review involvement: Prof Clark has been an NHMRC Grant Review Panellist since 2011 and a National Heart Foundation New Zealand Grant Applications Reviewer since 2006. She was an NRC International Grant Reviewer in 2011; an NHMRC Project Grant Reviewer from 2009 to 2012; a National Heart Foundation Grant Applications Reviewer from 2006 to 2012; a Women’s and Children’s Hospital Research Fund Funding Selection Panel Member from 2008 to 2010 and a QUT IBHI Collaborative Grant Review Panellist from 2010 to 2013 and Flinders Foundation since 2013 to present.

Editorial responsibilities: Prof Clark is a peer reviewer for 12 medical and nursing journals, including BMJ, MJA, European Journal of Heart Failure and Circulation.

Supervision and mentoring: Prof Clark is an active participant in developing and mentoring within the scientific community with a strong focus on implementing the Anthea Swam program to support women in science. She has supervised to completion of 10 PhDs, 9 Masters and 7 Honours students and is currently supervising or co-supervising 6 PhDs. Her research training model is a thesis by publications commencing with a systematic review to establish the evidence gap to underpin the hypothesis of the study. All students publish their research as part of their course (Mean PhD publications n=3). Prof Clark’s students are regularly invited to present in national and international research prize sessions at Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (2016-2018), European Cardiac Society (2016 -2018) and American Heart Association (2017).  Many students have graduated to take up leadership positions including directors of nursing, academic teachers, and research leaders in their home countries. In addition, Prof Clark’s most significant contribution to mentoring, is supporting up-and-coming new leaders nationally and around the world. Many of her rising stars have recently taken up their own professorial positions including A/Prof Jill Howie Esquivel University Virginia, Prof Lis Neubeck Edinburgh Napier University, A/Prof Janet Bray, Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Monash University, A/Prof Carolyn Astley SAHMRI, Prof Vincent Versace, Director University Dept of Rural Health Deakin, Dr Susie Cartilage, (Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship), Deakin University and Prof Aaron Conway, University of Toronto.

 

Translation and Impact

Prof Clark has received extraordinary training as a NICS Fellow (2004-2007), where she was mentored by translation leaders such as Prof Trish Greenhalgh, Editor of the British Medical Journal, Prof Jeremey Grimshaw, Prof Rischard Grol, Prof Debra Cook from the Evidence to Practice Centre at McMasters University, Canada and Prof Ross Wilson, University of Newcastle. Prof Clark utilises these skills to lead the transfer of translation knowledge in all aspects of her research program ensuring that the research evidence is implemented into practice, is patient centred and adapted into policy to achieve sustained models to improve access to CVD services. Prof Clark has contributed evidence for practice through her systematic reviews which has been cited in 10 national and international guidelines. Through her research in measuring (ARC Linkage Grants LPO775217 -CardiacARIA) and improving access (NHMRC Partnership PC3 GNT1169893-The Country Heart Attack Prevention Project) and APP2015968 (CIB) Yolnu Heart Health for Life: Person-centred, co-designed and student-assisted cardiac rehabilitation in East Arnhem Land and 2021 MRFF Consumer-Led Research APP 2022828 Harnessing the power of co-design to develop digital solutions and improve health self-efficacy after stroke (CIE).

Prof Clark is now seeing her research implemented into policy and practice: with the telemonitoring in heart failure reviews referenced in guidelines globally. She is currently a member of the 2023 Australian ACS guidelines advising on improving access to cardiac rehabilitation for disadvantaged groups and co-authoring several national (CSANZ) position statements on delivery of care during the pandemic.  She is leading 4 implementation projects for, telemonitoring in chronic disease, cardiac rehabilitation for remote aboriginal communities and cardiac rehabilitation for especially for women. Prof Clark is advising the state health department on equitable models of care for cardiac rehabilitation and telemonitoring. 

The impact of Prof Clark’s research has been to increase ACCESS to evidence-based heart failure and cardiovascular disease care for the most underserviced and disadvantaged populations.  She has earned international recognition for research into improving access to the care, of women, the elderly, rural and remote, those with low literacy and low socioeconomic status, those who are culturally and linguistically diverse including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  As a Clinical Professor, her most important impact has been to build a strong culture of clinical research that has improved clinical outcomes and led to developing a new generation of nursing scientists. Prof Clark has substantial potential for continuing to make significant contributions to cardiac patients’ health through 1) my ongoing research funding of 8 grants ($5.6 m) for projects for the next 4 years with 4 more currently under review, 2) support for nurses through ongoing leadership of international and national associations, and 3) development of early career researchers especially young women and my four current PhD candidates, also young early career women. 

Research Interests

  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
  • Evidence Based Practice and Systematic reviews (Cochrane and JBI)
  • Translation of evidence into practice
  • Inequities in health care
  • Access to healthcare services
  • Strategies for self-care for vascular disease in Indigneous populations
  • Development of apps for teaching self-care to patients

Supervision

  • Registered

Supervisory Interests

  • Geographical information systems
  • Cardiac disease
  • Evidence based clinical practice
  • Evidence based implementation
  • Social and economic determinants of health inequities
  • Health service, public policy, equity and access
  • Access and equity
  • Aboriginal chronic condition management
  • Internet/Web

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