Robert F. Schilling II received his B.A. from Hamline University, his M.S.W. from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and, later, his Ph.D. in social work from the University of Washington. He has held direct practice roles in youth, child welfare and developmental disabilities settings, and he has been a foster parent, fieldwork supervisor, fieldwork liaison, faculty member and departmental chair. His early research focused on developmental disabilities and prevention of social problems among minority youth. From 1986-1999 he was assistant, associate and full professor at Columbia University School of Social Work. Schilling’s first NIH-funded study tested a group HIV risk reduction intervention with 90 methadone patients. Initial promising results showed some lasting between-group differences, in the first published HIV prevention outcomes beyond one year. He extended his work into related studies involving women drug users in jail, untreated cocaine and heroin users, and patients in methadone clinics, sexually transmitted disease clinics, prisons and detoxification units. Schilling was one of the principal investigators on the seven-site NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial-then, the largest fully randomized HIV prevention trial ever conducted in the U.S. Study outcomes, involving 3,700 women and men in 37 clinics, were reported in 1998 in Science. At UCLA, he went on to publish papers on guardianship arrangements of children of women in detoxification, parental status and entry to methadone maintenance, proximity to needle exchange programs and HIV-related risk behavior, community-level HIV prevention with drug users, determinants of HIV-related drug-sharing in injection drug users, victimization of women drug users, and drug abuse treatment careers. More recent studies involved persons with HIV disease or at-risk populations in Asia.
To date, he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, as well as book chapters, reviews, invited papers, and letters. Schilling’s publications have appeared in AIDS, The American Journal of Public Health, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, The New England Journal of Medicine, Social Service Review, and Social Work.
Schilling was one of several co-authors receiving the James H. Nakano Citation for Outstanding Scientific Paper Published in 1994, from the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The next year, the same group was nominated for the Charles C. Shepard Science Award, for Demonstrating Excellence in Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In 2003, he was listed as one of the most productive scholars in social work in review of reputation and publication productivity among social work researchers. In 2006, Schilling was listed among researchers above the 95th percentile distribution of extramural NIH grants over the last 25 years. In a 2010 a review of HIV/AIDS scholarship by faculty within U.S.-based schools of social work, he was listed as first in citations. His work has been cited more than 4000 times. In 2011, Schilling was elected to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.
Schilling has been a standing and ad hoc member and chair of NIH review panels, and has chaired university subjects review committees. From 1996-1998, he chaired the technical advisory committee of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research. In 1997, he chaired an ad hoc group convened for the purpose of advising NIMH on the reorganization of its prevention mission. Later, he chaired another task group crafting a document, Strengthening America's Families and Communities: Applying R&D in Re-Inventing Human Service Systems, sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. In 2002, he served as a consultant to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Adherence, Health Outcomes and Cost Study. In 2005, Schilling organized and chaired the group examining the quality and impact of social work journals and the processes of peer review and publication, with recommendations issued in The Miami Statement.