Robbie Duschinsky has been appointed Professor of Social Science and Health at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, eight years after joining the Primary Care Unit as a University Lecturer.
Warmly welcoming the news, Professor Stephen Morris, Head of the Primary Care Unit, said: “Robbie’s promotion is an apt recognition of his achievements and his contributions to the PCU, Department, Clinical School, and wider University.”
Robbie’s involvement in teaching reflects the Department’s commitment to delivering world-class and inspiring education for future doctors. He teaches all Cambridge medical students, including as lead for the Social & Ethical Context of Health and Illness (SECHI), with his lectures described by students as “electrifying”.
Dr Paul Wilkinson, Clinical Dean at the University’s School of Clinical Medicine, said: “It has been a delight working with Robbie these last eight years. He has done a wonderful job in overhauling the pre-clinical SECHI course. And he is always incredibly helpful, contributing his wisdom to several cross-course initiatives, in particular the pre-clinical course review and the Racism in Medical Education working group.”
In addition to his Departmental teaching, Robbie has served as Director of Studies for Sidney Sussex College, receiving outstanding feedback for his teaching, student support, and widening participation activities. Robbie won the Pilkington Prize in 2022, the University’s highest teaching award.
At the Primary Care Unit, Robbie has played a key strategic role, including most recently co-leading the development of the Unit’s research strategy.
The promotion recognises Robbie’s tremendous commitment to helping colleagues, and his personal values of kindness and inclusion which have helped shape Unit and Departmental culture.
The Applied Social Science Group was founded by Robbie in 2015 when he joined the Primary Care Unit. Members of the group say he has created a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative space where they can “experiment, fail, and try again” and that he offers fantastic pastoral support. Nearly every doctoral student who has graduated from the group has chosen to remain involved, joining Robbie as graduate co-supervisors and pursuing further research.
Describing Robbie’s leadership, Dr Tessa Morgan said that Robbie “keeps everyone in his orbit nourished with new ideas”. Dr Barry Coughlan highlighted that the impact of Robbie’s mentoring extends far beyond traditional markers of academic success.
Robbie works to support students and colleagues alike in a way that makes them feel inspired, valued, and confident in their abilities to tackle big questions.”
Dr Barry Coughlan, British Academy Fellow in the Applied Social Science Group
Experts-by-Experience (EbyE) and clinical collaborators are deeply involved in Robbie’s research, including as co-leads of work packages on research grants.
Taliah Drayak, one of the EbyE co-leads on the COACHES research programme to explore the health of children and young people with social care experience, explained: “Robbie has been incredibly thoughtful and considerate. He has been passionate about supporting us as ‘lived experience researchers’ to be fully involved from the start.”
Robbie bridged the gap between lived and learned experience which has empowered those living with adversities to have an active role in research.”
Taliah Drayak, Expert-by-Experience, researcher
Robbie’s research supports the Department’s commitment to generate knowledge with real-world impact on policy and practice. He has gained a strong reputation with external stakeholder organisation for careful, rigorous and useful research even on sensitive topics and with populations facing considerable adversity, like children and families with experience of social care services.
Dustin Hutchinson, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), began his organisation’s partnership with Robbie back in 2019. He said: “Robbie’s partnership with us has enabled his programmes of research to deeply inform Government officials, Parliament, Ministers and the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. His commitment to work with NCB to make evidence count will undoubtedly result in improving national policy and practice and ultimately the lives of vulnerable children and their families across the country.”
Colleagues in the Primary Care Unit and wider Department were delighted on hearing the news. Jonathan Mant, Professor of Primary Care, said: “This promotion is richly deserved. Robbie is an outstanding colleague who combines research and teaching excellence with being a great team player and a thoroughly nice person.”
More about Professor Duschinsky
Living Assessments study, funded by Wellcome
COACHES study, funded by the NIHR and What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care
More about Prof. Duschinsky and his research