Dr. Richard Clayton was the first Chair of the Department of Health Behavior (name later changed to Health, Behavior & Society) and the first Associate Dean for Research in the College of Public Health. Since 1986 he has been the Director of the Center for Prevention Research, the first and only such center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the first round of funding. From 1996 through 2009 he was Chair of the transdisciplinary Tobacco Etiology Research Network (TERN) funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He also served two years as Chair of the transdisciplinary Tobacco Research Network on Disparities (TReND) funded by the National Cancer Institute and the American Legacy Foundation. Both networks involved over 20 senior scientists from disciplines ranging from cells to society and from major research universities around the country.
Dr. Clayton has written 8 books and has published well over 100 articles. He wrote the only required chapter in the first, second and fourth Triennial Reports to Congress on Drug Abuse and Drug Abuse Research. From 1990-1993 he served on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2005 he received the Presidential Award from the Society for Prevention Research for lifetime contributions to prevention activities and prevention research. From 1970 until January of 2001 when he accepted the Good Samaritan Foundation Chair position in the UK School of Public Health, he was a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kentucky.
He is the co-developer of the Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking, a comprehensive behavioral oriented smoking cessation program that utilizes nicotine replacement therapy and group support. Working with the Kentucky Cancer Program and local health departments, Drs. Cooper and Clayton have trained over 1,300 community-based facilitators to deliver the program throughout Kentucky and in a number of other venues as well. Dr. Clayton has been the principal investigator on $28.6 million in extramural grants and a co-investigator on about $16 million in other extramural grants. In 1984 Dr. Clayton was named by the President as a University Research Professor and, in 1985, he received the Great Teacher Award from the UK Alumni Association. In 2012 he will worked with the National Centre for Youth Mental Health on a nationwide project to reduce self-harm and suicide among youth in Ireland.