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Robert Patton

Robert Patton

SSI fellow

I am interested in the identification of alcohol use disorders and in developing intervention to reduce consumption and harm. I am currently involved in a 5 year programme exploring alcohol use among 10-17 year olds who present to Emergency departments. This study has involved the development of bespoke iPad software for patient management, consent and baseline data collection. We are also developing a smartphone based intervention. I am also involved in the development of two other mental health apps - a goal tracker and a contact / phone filter - both of which are targeting drug users in recovery.

I am a Chartered Health Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Scientist. During the 1990s I worked for the Home Office Drugs Prevention Initiative as a consultant, and then as a research associate in health promotion for the University of Northumbria, before moving to London where I worked for Kings College London (medical education), Royal Holloway (violence prevention), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (cancer communication), Imperial College London (alcohol) and for King's Health Partners where I was the Health Services Research Coordinator for Addictions between 2004-2011. Having spent the last two years as a Research Fellow at the National Addiction Centre, King's College London,  I am now a lecturer in Clinical Psychology, based at the University of Surrey.

My interest in alcohol research has developed throughout at 20 year career in substance misuse. Working first as an independent consultant, and then in both NHS and University settings, I have helped develop screening and brief interventions (SBI) to help identify hazardous and harmful drinkers and to developed effective and cost effective ways of helping them reduce consumption and related harm.  I am currently working on a large NIHR funded programme grant that is addressing alcohol use among adolescents presenting to Emergency Departments. We have utilised public involvement to help shape and refine our methodology, and this has resulted in our adoption of software based solutions for participant management, data collection and intervention delivery.

I recently published two systematic reviews which conclude that e-SBI may be as effective as more traditional face-to-face intervention, but have the potential to be delivered at much lower cost to significantly larger numbers of people. I am developing further research proposals to test e-SBI and hope to use this Fellowship as an opportunity to develop collaborative partnerships and further promote the use of software in addictions and health research.

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