Zoe Szewczyk

Zoe Szewczyk
Research Program:

What are your research interests?

  • Public health and health promotion, particularly nutrition interventions.
  • Applying health economics to evaluate the cost, cost-consequence and cost-effectiveness of health interventions and models of care.
  • Investigating the economics of health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Health policy and providing information relevant to policymakers on the costs and consequences of investment in healthcare interventions

Why did you get into research?

For two reasons, first, as a child I drove my parents and teachers mad with my constant questioning. When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I felt like I had more questions than answers. I was drawn to research and the opportunity to explore unanswered questions and solve challenging problems. The second, is the potential to make a difference, using health economics to advocate for health promoting, preventative interventions.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

The old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than a cure’ and I believe that saying is still relevant today. In my work, I am fortunate that my current projects are looking at the economics of health promotion interventions. In other words, how much will it cost us to prevent people getting sick and how much can we save by helping people live healthier lives? Unfortunately, that question is complicated by the fact money doesn’t grow on trees and we must make (sometimes difficult) decisions about how we spend our money. However, those decisions could become easier if our health care system is able to provide appropriate care to all people who need it, when and where they need it. If there were widely available services to support people to live healthier lives, that would have the potential to reduce the burden of disease in our society. I don’t believe an individual researcher can achieve all that, but I certainly aspire to be part of a team that does.

Biography

Zoe completed her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (hons) in 2015 whilst working in the dietary department of a local private hospital. It was during this time that Zoe developed a keen interest in the economics of health promotion and how to improve people’s health to prevent them entering hospital. Upon completing her degree, she worked as a Dietitian and Project Officer at Hunter New England Population Health and commenced an internship with the HMRI Health Research Economics (HRE) Team. After successfully completing her internship Zoe was employed in an ongoing research assistant role in the HRE team where she is currently employed. During this time Zoe also commenced a PhD at The University of Newcastle and completed a range of economics, econometrics and statistics courses. Zoe’s PhD (Health Economics) focuses on the economics of health promotion in the antenatal period.

In 2018 Zoe commenced her role as course coordinator in the Masters of Public Health program, teaching ‘Global Health Systems and Policy’ at The University of Newcastle. Zoe is currently employed in this position. Zoe will submit her PhD thesis in mid-2020.

Future Focus

  • Applying health economic evaluation to new and existing health interventions and their implementation 
  • Using health economics to translate the value of preventative interventions to decision makers and health services  

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Applied health economics
  • Cost modelling
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Impact assessments

Affiliations

  • Nutrition Society of Australia, student member
  • International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), student member