Jeffrey Colin RICHARDS (1949 - 2005)

Professor of Primary Care Research (2003 - 2005)

Jeffrey Richards

Monash academic, clinical psychologist and pioneer of internet-based therapies Professor Jeffrey Richards died suddenly earlier this month of a heart attack.

Professor Richards was 55 and at the peak of his professional career when he died after returning home from a run on 5 April 2005.

Professor Richards joined Monash as professor of primary care research in February 2003. In that same year, he received the Distinguished Career Award from the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy in recognition of his contribution to behaviour research and therapy.

The head of the Department of General Practice, Professor Leon Piterman, said Professor Richards had learned early in his professional career to combine his dual passions of clinical practice and research.

He said Professor Richards was a tireless advocate for quality research into mental health care, particularly in areas relating to innovative new treatments and modes of delivery.

In 1998, Professor Richards and his then student who later became his colleague, Dr Britt Klein, began developing an internet-based treatment for panic disorder. The project evolved into the development of internet-based treatments for several psychological disorders.

Professor Richards maintained an active interest and involvement in health psychology and was involved in research into erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, stress, depression and tinnitus.

He was a fellow or member of 12 professional associations including the Fellowship of the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Association of Academic General Practitioners and the European and American Psychological Associations.

At the time of his death, Professor Richards was actively involved in three NHMRC grants, two ARC grants and three Beyondblue Centre of Excellence grants. He was an author of more than 50 refereed publications, five book chapters and numerous conference papers nationally and internationally.

Professor Piterman said as well as his professional achievements, Professor Richards was a gentle, kind, considerate and humble man.

"He was selfless and generous with his time. He did not discriminate and gave of himself to both junior and senior staff alike. He was committed, devoted to his staff and his work and constantly strived for excellence in research and patient care," Professor Piterman said.

Professor Richards is survived by his mother Jean, his brother Andy, his partner Marita McCabe, his daughters Sasha, Erica, Hayley and Imi, his four grandchildren, two stepsons Matt and Mark and an extended family.

Published in Monash Memo, 20 April 2005.