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Professor Robert Adams
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Professor Robert Adams, MBBS, FRACP, FRCP (London), MD is a specialist respiratory and general physician with extensive experience in public health, clinical epidemiology and health services research. He completed post-doctoral training at the Channing Laboratory, Harvard Medical School and is currently appointed as Professor in the Discipline of Medicine at The University of Adelaide.
Prof Adams has extensive experience with large population based cohort studies. He is Principal Investigator of The North West Adelaide Health Study (NWAHS) and co-led the process of harmonisation with the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study (FAMAS), such that there are now over 2000 men aged over 35 being followed in the Male Androgen, Inflammation, Lifestyle, Environment and Stress (MAILES) study with a further 2000 women in the cohort. He was responsible for the conduct of sleep studies in almost 850 men in the MAILES cohort, one of the largest studies worldwide of sleep health in the community.
He has designed and successfully implemented trials in the diagnosis and management of asthma, health service improvement and initiated cohort studies in mental health patients. He has been CI on NHMRC and ARC projects that examine health ageing in relation to obesity, and spatial epidemiology of metabolic health.
He has authored 185 peer-reviewed publications in journals and books, including top ranked journals in clinical endocrinology (Diabetes Care), allergy (Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology), sleep (Sleep), respiratory medicine (Lancet Respiratory Medicine; American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine), and general medicine (Lancet).
Prof Adams has also contributed to health system safety research and practice. He led the TeamSTEPPS teamwork training program at SA Health and is a member of the board of the Australian Patient Safety Foundation. He was the Inaugural Chair of the SA Health Literacy Alliance. He is a member of the Translational Methods Sub-committee of the newly formed South Australian Advanced Health and Research Translation Centre, one of the four recognized nationally by the NHMRC.
Prof Adams is a founding member of Cumberland.au, a multidisciplinary group including clinicians, mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and others, that aims to apply systems thinking, design thinking, mathematical modelling (including the use of simulation), and operations research to achieve lasting transformative reform in healthcare.
“The Health Observatory is a specialist population research centre conducting a number of large scale representative population studies on health surveillance of chronic disease and related factors. The ultimate focus of the Observatory is to contribute to positive ageing by improving population health across the life span. The work involves the tracking of population health to identify gaps/targets that can be better addressed through prevention strategies and/or better management of chronic conditions and conditions associated with ageing.”
Examples of ongoing cohort studies include:
i) the North-West Adelaide Health Study (NWAHS), which has followed over 4000 adults since 2000 for a range of biopsychosocial and environmental variables, including bone mineral density, and resulted in over 130 publications so far (see http://www.nwadelaidehealthstudy.org and https://health.adelaide.edu.au/pros/data/nwahs/ )
ii) The South Australian Giant Cell Arteritis Registry, involving DNA collection and genotyping studies as well as epidemiological studies (see Intern Med J 2014;44:32-39; doi:10.1111/imj.12293)
iii) the Men, Androgens, Inflammation, Lifestyle, Environment Study (MAILES), which aims to examine non-traditional risk factors associated with the development of cardio-metabolic disease in men, and is following n=1629 men aged 40 years and over (see http://www.adelaide.edu.au/mailes/ )
Research opportunities exist at all levels from undergraduate student projects to PhD and Post-doctoral level for enthusiastic candidates.
His current research is focused in two areas:
1. Sleep Health
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is very common, with up to half of adults having some form of the condition. OSA has a large negative effect on a number of areas of health - ie heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, mental health, accidents and quality of life.
In collaboration with colleagues at The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health and the Woolcock Institute at Sydney University, current research projects aim to better identify who is at risk of longitudinal adverse health outcomes out of the large pool of people in the community who have some form of sleep apnea. This works includes seeing if new markers of OSA on sleep studies (quantitative EEG / power spectral analysis, heart rate variability) can be used to improve the precision for identifying those at risk of adverse consequences. Work with other colleagues focuses on health economics analyses, including cost per DALY/QALY and decision analytic simulation studies for treatments of sleep apnea.
2. Cumberland.au - The Australian Health Care Modelling and Systems Design Collaboration
The Collaboration brings together many clinicians and modelers who have worked across Australia over the last 10-20 years. Cumberland.au recognises the importance and potential to apply the following to achieve reform in health: Systems thinking; Design thinking; Mathematical modeling (including the use of simulation), and Operations research.
Simulation modeling is a means of communicating and discussing the proposed changes to the healthcare system with stakeholder groups before any changes are made.
Current projects include i) multi-method simulation modelling of Mental Health patient care across Adelaide; ii) simulation modelling for re-designing care in the ICU; iii) patient flow simulation in the Emergency Department; iv) patient flow simulation in acute cardiac care.
Major Grant Funding 2011-2017
2017 NHMRC Project Grant 1122342 Health impacts of sleep apnea in Australian men – a longitudinal population study. Investigators: Adams R, McEvoy RD, Antic N, Appleton S, Wittert G, Catcheside P, Vakulin A, Vincent A, Taylor A. $312,056
2010 NHMRC Project Grant 627227 Effect of sex steroids, inflammation, environmental and biopsychosocial factors on cardiometabolic disease risk in men. Wittert G, Wilson D, Adams R, Travision T Taylor A, McKinlay J, Jenkins A, Milne R, Hugo G, Atlantic E. $1.7 million
2010 NHMRC Project Grant 631917 Linking Place to Metabolic Syndrome via Behavioural and Psychosocial Antecedents: Levers for Public Health Intervention. Investigators: Daniel M, Hugo G, Paquet C, Taylor A, Cargo M, Adams R $545,000
2010 NHMRC Partnership Grant 570150 Linking Place to Metabolic Syndrome via Behavioural and Psychosocial Antecedents: Levers for Public Health Intervention. Investigators: Daniel M, Hugo G, Paquet C, Taylor A, Cargo M, Adams R $325,000
2009-2011 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant ID: LP 0990065 Hugo G, Wittert G, Adams RJ, Cobiac L, Daniel N, Findley CC, Taylor AW, Wilson DH, Winefield HR, Woolacott AL, Ruffin RE. Australian baby boomer generation, Obesity and Work - Patterns, Causes and Implications. $1,438,345.
2009-2013 The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Foundation Program Grant. The Health Observatory. Adams R, Wilson D, Hill C, Visvanathan R, Ruffin R, Wittert G. $1.25 million
2016- Cardiovascular impacts of obstructive sleep apnea in men. Heart Foundation – Vanguard Grant, $75,000
2015- A survey of sleep health in Australia. Sleep Health Foundation, $20,000 R Adams, A Taylor, D McEvoy, N Antic, T Gill)
2015- Obstructive sleep apnea-related autonomic disturbance. ResMed Foundation, $65,000 R Adams, D McEvoy, G Wittert, N Antic, A Vakulin, A D’Rozario
2015- The Promulgation of Operational Research, Systems Thinking and Design Thinking within the Australian Health Care Sector. Premier’s International Research Fund, $400,000 M Mackay, R Adams, N Bean
2014- Partners in Recovery - Pilot Project of Consumer centred care; developing an electronic communication, care and evaluation platform for Partners in Recovery. $100,000 R Adams, G Jones.
2012- The Mental Health Observatory, Country Health SA, $70,000
2011- Investigating sleep apnea in a community-based sample of men. ResMed Foundation, $50,000 R Adams, D McEvoy, G Wittert.
For citations see Google Scholar
1. Woo T, Yu S, Adams R, Visvanathan R. The association between sarcopenia and quality of life is differernt in community dwelling older Australian men and women. Aust J Ageing 2017;36:31-41.
Recent Invited Presentations- National/International
Respiratory and Sleep
2016- “The MAILES Study- insights into OSA in men”. Adelaide Sleep Retreat, Adelaide, November, 2016.
2016- “Impact of OSA on Australian men”. AISH-FRCE Symposium – Importance of Sleep for Community Health, Adelaide 2016.
2015- “Men’s health- The X factor and Y it matters”. Ageing and Living Well Think Tank and Innovation Collaborative, Adelaide, November 2015
2014 - Evolving epidemiology of chronic conditions. Australian Health & Medical Research Congress, Melbourne, November, 2014
2013- Sleep Apnea in the Elderly. Geriatric Society of Australia & New Zealand Scientific Meeting, December 2013
2013- Burden and prevalence of sleep apnea, Alternative Management Pathways for Sleep Disorders in Adults Symposium, Australasian Sleep Association Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, October 2013.
2012- “Sleep apnea – A public health concern”. Australian Health & Medical Research Congress, Adelaide, November 2012.
2010 “Burden of illness from chronic cough in Australia”. Cough Symposium: What’s new from Australia? Thoracic Society of Australia & New Zealand Annual Meeting, Brisbane, April 2010.
2012- Health literacy and chronic disease. Medicines Management 2012, 38th Society of Hospital Pharmacists National Conference, Canberra, November 2012.
2012- “Problems with Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication use and health literacy”. Guild Pharmacy Academy, NSW Convention, Sydney, February 2012.
2012- Health literacy and population health”. “In their shoes” – Health literacy Forum, Victorian Quality Conference. Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, March 2012.
2010 Adult language, literacy and numeracy Search Conference for the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research in Canberra on September 13th, to present on health literacy. The objective of the invitation-only meeting was to explore developments in adult literacy and numeracy with a view to suggesting future directions and to help shape consultations on a national adult literacy strategy.
2010 “Health Literacy”, Plenary Session, Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Workshop, Brisbane, May 2010.
2010 “Health literacy – Important risk factor or the goal of self-management?” Australian Better Health Initiative Forum - Chronic Disease Self Management beyond June 2010, Adelaide, February 2010
Health services, Safety & Quality
2016- “Changing patient care delivery and monitoring through design thinking and healthcare modelling”. Post-conference Workshop, 2nd Digital Hospital of the Future Conference, Sydney, December 2016.
2016- “Reflections of operations research from a clinicians perspective”. Cumberland.au Designing Health Conference, Adelaide, October 2016.
2015 “Optimising Transformation: the Application of Simulation to Transforming Health: Mental Health as a Case Study.” Transforming Health: Shaping the Research Agenda Workshop. Adelaide, July 2015
2014- “Achieving the National Standards: Sustaining change after the accreditors have left”. Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Conference, Adelaide, September 2014.
2011- “Communication training to create a culture of patient safety” 2011 International Patient Safety Reporting System Conference, Department of Health, Taiwan Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation (TJCHA), Taipei, August 2011
Recent Conference Presentations
1. Lang PCJ, SL Appleton, A Vakulin, DR MEvoy, GA Wittert, SA Martin, JF Grant, AW Taylor, NA Antic, Catcheside P, R Adams. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) And Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) Are Independently Associated With Depression In A Community Based Population Of Australian Men. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015;191:A3934.
2. Chai-Coetzer GC, R Adams, S Appleton, A Vakulin, SA Martin, JF Grant, NA Antic, P Catcheside, AW Taylor, A Wittert, RD McEvoy. Comparison Of The OSA50, Stop And Stop-Bang Questionnaires For Identification Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea In A Male Population Cohort. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015;191:A5601
3. Appleton SL, Vakulin A, Lang C, Wittert G, Martin SA, Grant JF, Taylor A, Catcheside PG, Antic N, McEvoy D, Adams R. Excessive daytime sleepiness, undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, quality of life and comorbidities in a population-based cohort of men. Sleep 2015;38 (Suppl):A158
4. Jayaram L, Pickering S, Homan S, Adams R, Ruffin R. Perception of dyspnoea in a community sample with asthma: relationship with clinical, psychosocial and inflammatory variables. In Respirology 2015:20:139-139.
5. Sarah Appleton, Andrew Vakulin, Carol Lang, Gary Wittert, Anne Taylor, Doug McEvoy, Nick Antic, Peter Catcheside, Robert Adams. Hypertension is associated with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
6. Robert Adams,Sarah Appleton, Andrew Vakulin, Carol Lang, Anne Taylor, Nick Antic, Peter Catcheside, Doug McEvoy, Gary Wittert. Relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and chronic kidney disease (CKD)
7. Peter Catcheside, Andrew Vakulin, Sarah Appleton, Doug McEvoy, Nick Antic, Gary Wittert, Sean Martin, Janet Grant, Anne Taylor, Carol Lang, Robert Adams. A comparison of methods for classifying positional obstructive sleep apnoea.
8. Adams RJ, Appleton SL, Vakulin A, Martin S, Grant J, Taylor, A, Catcheside P, McEvoy RD, Antic NA, Wittert G. Burden of Undiagnosed OSA on Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) Among Men In The Community Sleep 2013, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting, Baltimore, June 2013 (oral presentation)
9. Adams RJ, Appleton SL, Vakulin A, Martin S, Grant J, Taylor, A, Catcheside P, McEvoy RD, Antic NA, Wittert G. Prevalence and morbidity of undiagnosed OSA in a population cohort of men aged >40 years. Sleep and Breathing 2013, Berlin, April 2013
10. Appleton SL, *Adams RJ, Martin S, Taylor AW, Wittert G. Changes in cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a population of men (oral presentation). Population Health Congress, Adelaide, Australia, 9-12 September, 2012
11. Adams RJ, Sarah Appleton, Andrew Vakulin, Anne Taylor, Sean Martin, Peter Catcheside, Nick Antic, Doug McEvoy, Gary Wittert. High prevalence of undiagnosed OSA in a community sample of men aged 40 years and over (oral presentation). 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):42
12. Adams RJ, *Sarah Appleton, Andrew Vakulin, Anne Taylor, Sean Martin, Peter Catcheside, Nick Antic, Doug McEvoy, *Gary Wittert. Sleepiness and the burden of comorbidities in a population sample of men. 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):62
13. Adams RJ, Judith Sowden, Catherine Hill, Renuka Visvanathan, Tiffany Gill, Sarah Appleton. Readability assessment of consumer information material on sleep and health from Australian websites (oral presentation). 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):61
14. Appleton SL, Robert Adams, Andrew Vakulin, Anne Taylor, Sean Martin, Peter Catcheside, Nick Antic, Doug McEvoy, Gary Wittert. Burden of undiagnosed OSA on health-related quality of life among men aged 40 years and over in the community (oral presentation). 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):72.
15. Wittert G, Sean Martin, Robert Adams, Sarah Appleton, Anne Taylor, Zumin Shi, Peter Catcheside, Andrew Vakulin, Doug McEvoy. Obstructive sleep apnea is not an independent determinant of plasma testosterone (oral presentation). 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):28.
16. Catcheside P, Andrew Vakulin, Nick Antic, Doug McEvoy, Sarah Appleton, Sean Martin, Anne Taylor, Robert Adams, Gary Wittert. The community prevalence of supine predominant OSA in men aged 40 years and over (oral presentation). 24th ASM of the Australasian Sleep Association, Darwin, Australia 11-13 October, 2012. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2012;10 (suppl 1):71
17. Adams RJ, Sarah Appleton, Tiffany Gill, Catherine Hill, Renuka Visvanathan. Asthma control is associated with blood granulocyte patterns in a population cohort. American Thoracic Society, International Conference, San Francisco, May 18-23rd, 2012. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2012; 185: A5674
18. Appleton SL, Tiffany Gill, Catherine Hill, Renuka Visvanathan, Robert Adams. Asthma and wheeze are associated with reduced vitamin D levels in a population cohort. American Thoracic Society, International Conference, San Francisco, May 18-23rd, 2012. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2012; 185: A5672
19. Paquet C, Baldock K, Howard N, Coffee N, Hugo G, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Do relations between perceived neighbourhood crime, local-area crime rates and metabolic syndrome differ by gender? Heart Foundation Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 16-18 May 2013.
20. Baldock K, Paquet C, Howard N, Coffee N, Hugo G, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Associations between overestimation of distance to fresh food retailers and outdoor recreational resources and metabolic syndrome. Heart Foundation Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 16-18 May 2013.
21. Carroll S, Paquet C, Howard N, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Validation of continuous measures of cardiometabolic risk using a population-based cohort of Australian adults. Heart Foundation Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 16-18 May 2013
22. Newbury W, Lorimer M, Newbury J, Adams R, Crockett A. Lung age: an update. 6th IPCRG World Conference, April 2012, Edinburgh
23. Paquet C, Baldock K, Howard N, Coffee N, Hugo G, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Do relations between perceived neighbourhood crime, local-area crime rates and metabolic syndrome differ by gender? Heart Foundation Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 16-18 May 2013.17.
24. Baldock K, Paquet C, Howard N, Coffee N, Hugo G, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Associations between overestimation of distance to fresh food retailers and outdoor recreational resources and metabolic syndrome. Heart Foundation Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 16-18 May 2013.
25. Adams R, Piantadosi C, Appleton S, McEvoy D, Hill C, Visvanathan R, Wilson D. Investigating obstructive sleep apnoea – Will the health system have the capacity to cope? A population study. Australasian Sleep Association Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney, October 2011
26. Biermann S, Koblar S, Hamilton-Bruce A, Appleton S, Adams R. Health literacy levels in a stroke population. Stroke 2011, Stroke Society of Australasia, Adelaide September 2011
27. Daniel M, Paquet C, Coffee N, Howard N, Cargo M, Taylor A, Hugo G, Adams R. Metabolic syndrome incidence in a population-based, representative Biomedical cohort over 4.5 years: assessing area-level socioeconomic Disadvantage and individual psychosocial wellbeing. 4th International Congress on Prediabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome, Madrid April 2011.
28. Wittert G, Martin S, Wilson D, Jenkins A, Araujo A, O’Loughlin P, Taylor A, Adams R. Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Is a Marker of Hepatic Insulin Sensitivity and Lipogenesis, but Is Not Independently Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Men. ENDO 2011: The 93rd Annual Meeting & Expo, Boston June 2011
29. Baldock K, Paquet C, Howard N, Coffee N, Taylor A, Adams R, Hugo G, Daniel M. Perceived availability of local resources, sense of community and metabolic syndrome in apopulation-based cohort. International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity meeting, Melbourne June 2011.
30. Paquet C, Orschulok TP, Coffee N, Howard N, Hugo G, Taylor A, Adams R, Daniel M. Accessibility to public spaces and cardio-metabolic risk in a population-based biomedical cohort. International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity meeting, Melbourne June 2011.
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