HMRI Announces Health Research Economist

Nov 29 2010

The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF) today announced the appointment of HMRI Health Research Economist, Professor Chris Doran.

Working in collaboration with HVRF, Professor Doran will make economic evaluations of health interventions, which have arisen from health research. He will also evaluate the economic outcomes of HMRI-affiliated research projects.

“This is a major announcement for our region,” HMRI Director, Professor Maree Gleeson said.

“Opportunities to grow the capacity of health research economics are extremely rare, particularly in a regional centre like the Hunter.”

Professor Doran said health economics was a growing discipline, becoming increasingly relevant in today’s environment of budget cuts and fiscal rationing.

“Tools of economic evaluation are already used extensively in Australia in the listing of pharmaceutical and medical products and enable decision-makers to better understand what they receive for investments in health and healthcare interventions,” Professor Doran said.

“It is an exciting time to join HMRI and I look forward to the opportunity of working with the network of researchers, clinicians and policy makers in the Hunter and New England region to ensure money spent on health care is used in an effective and efficient manner.”

HVRF CEO, Dr Wej Paradice AM, said Professor Doran brings valuable expertise to the important role of Health Research Economist.

“Our intent is that this position will serve to develop capacity in the Hunter region in the field of health research economics,” Dr Paradice said.

“At a practical level, the position will assist clinicians to assess the economic impacts of the health research developments in which they are presently involved,” he said.

University of Newcastle’s Dean of Medicine, Professor Michael Hensley, said Professor Doran is a leader in the area of health economics, especially applied to health and medical research.

“The economic impact of health on our community is an increasingly important focus. His appointment is a coup for the University, HMRI, HVRF and indeed Newcastle.”

The HVRF, a non-profit regional research organisation specialising in economic and social research, will provide peer support and shared research expertise for Professor Doran, who will add to the research already being undertaken in the health field.

Professor Doran, who has been awarded more than $20 million in research funding over the past 10 years and has developed and taught several post-graduate health economic programs, will assist in the development of further grant applications and serve to mentor graduate students in the field of health economics.

“We see this as a practical way to further develop relationships between the HVRF and our partners, the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health while developing and strengthening capacity within our organisations,” Professor Gleeson said.

“Professor Doran will also provide a valuable resource for developing career pathways for medical researchers in the Hunter.”

Newcastle raised, Professor Doran returns to the region from appointments at the University of New South Wales’ National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and University of Queensland’s Centre for Burden and Disease and Cost-Effectiveness.

He also has strong international links and has completed commissioned work for organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the South Pacific Region.

He is also currently working in several South-East Asian countries on projects designed to improve the evidence base for health policy in these emerging countries.

Professor Doran will begin work early in the new year.