Rob was born in 1945 and educated at Monash University, graduating in 1969 with an M.B., B.S. (Hons 1), as well as a PhD in 1974. In 1979 he received a Diploma from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Rob became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1980 and in 1999 a Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. In 2017 Rob was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edin). For over forty years Rob has been actively engaged in undergraduate education.
Most of Rob’s working life has been spent in the study and care of the elderly people and has over 200 published papers mainly on pain and cognitive treatment. There are two prizes under his name: the Robert Helme prize for the researcher of the year, National Ageing research Institute since 2010; and the Robert Helme Neuroscience Research Prize, Western Health since 2016.
At present Rob holds a number of positions:
He has spent the last 14 or so years as a member of the Council of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria, where he is Chair of the Care committee and is a member of the Communications Steering Group. In 1987 he took over as the Director of the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), and continued in that position until 2000. The Institute was set up for gerontological research and geriatric medicine.
During his tenure at NARI Rob championed some of the early work and trials on drug therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease. He was in the Department of Medicine at Monash University before becoming Professor of Geriatric Medicine at The University of Melbourne. Since retiring from clinical practice as a Consultant Neurologist, Rob has undertaken medicollegial work.
Rob was inducted into the Rotary Club of Melbourne in 1997 and has been an active member of the Balwyn Group. Rob is presently involved with a number of Committees including the Rotary Foundation and R100 Centenary Committee. Previous Committee memberships include the Membership Retention Committee and the East Timor Committee along with the Community Welfare Committee, where he led the Sir John Reid Award team for 5 years and the Welfare of the Elderly Committee as Chairman in 2002 – 2003.
In 2002, Rob initiated and steered the RCM Board through the creation of the Rotary Club of Melbourne Senior’s Award which recognises the work of volunteers in support of the Aged. He was Director in 2008 – 2009 being responsible for New Generations Services.
He was attracted to the Rotary Peace Program and volunteered to join that team, becoming Club Chair and then District Chair of the Peace Fellowship Committee. As a member of the District Foundation Committee, he has extended to that Committee his own energetic style and has an outstanding record in the Rotary Peace Program at both the Club and District levels.
Rob has shown throughout his life that he is a very worthy recipient of the Paul Harris Award.