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Health Policy Management Research

Our research involves both methodological and applied research across health service delivery and health system reform, health economics, preference measurement, priority setting and data management, clinical trial and cardiovascular epidemiology and geospatial analysis.

We believe it to be essential to liaise closely with public and private health organizations (including: clinicians, policy makers and service users) to ensure that our research has the greatest capacity for bringing about real change in the health sector. We work at all geographical levels, from WA and national based research through to international collaborations with leading researchers in their respective fields.

Current research projects


New approaches to describing and valuing quality of life: application and implications for economic evaluation
Curtin Investigator: Richard Norman
Funding support: National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship
Research summary: The ability of healthcare to improve quality of life is a major factor in determining public subsidy. This fellowship first explores patterns in Australian quality of life. This will identify groups with poor quality of life, and the remedying impact achieved under various interventions. It will then consider how people place value on aspects of quality of life. The two strands will allow linkage between important areas of quality of life and the policy impact of health interventions.
Developing and Australian valuation for the EQ-5D-5L quality of life instrument
Curtin Investigator: Richard Norman
External Chief Investigators: Rosalie Viney and Deborah Street (UTS), John Brazier (University of Sheffield), Emily Lancsar and Paula Lorgelly (Monash), Julie Ratcliffe (Flinders)
Funding support: National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant
Research summary: In the assessment of gains resulting from a health technology, it is standard to consider both mortality and quality of life effects. This project explores how Australians value different components of quality of life. To do this, we are running an online survey called a discrete choice experiment, and analysing the data using a range of cutting-edge econometric techniques. This will allow policy-makers to better reflect people's preferences when making decisions about new technologies.
Nanny State or good public policy: Do the benefits of mandatory health programs justify the loss of consumer choice?
Curtin Investigator/em>: Richard Norman
External Chief Investigators: Stephen Goodall and Rosalie Viney (UTS)
Funding support: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant
Research summary: Governments are increasingly turning to mandatory programs to improve health. Such programs are appealing because there are high health benefits from universal participation and low costs for promotion and monitoring the program. But this apparent benefit relies on restriction of personal choice, which may impose welfare losses on consumers. Evaluations generally ignore loss of choice, despite evidence suggesting consumers value the ability to choose. This study will estimate the impact and value this loss of consumer choice, explore program specific factors and consumer characteristics influencing the valuation, and determine whether and how restricted choice should be explicitly considered when evaluating public health programs.
Levelling the Playing Field: Starting with the School Playground
Curtin Investigator: Richard Norman
External Chief Investigators: Anita Bundy, Judy Simpson, Louise Baur (University of Sydney), Shirley Wyver (Macquarie), Geraldine Naughton (ACU), Paul Tranter (UNSW)
Funding support: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant
Research summary: This project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of simple, cost-effective programs for changing the way parents and teachers view manageable risk-taking for children with disabilities and increasing the level of responsibility that children take for their own actions. The well-being of all children with disabilities is at risk and the gap continues to widen. New programs, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, will place increasing demands on young people with disabilities. Innovative approaches are desperately. Such programming must begin early, by including children in an age-appropriate ways and simultaneously addressing the issues of adults who have the most significant influence: parents and teachers.
Development and valuation of cancer-specific multi-attribute health states for use in economic evaluation
Curtin Investigator: Richard Norman
External Chief Investigators: Madeleine King, Peter Grimison and Daniel Costa (University of Sydney), Rosalie Viney (UTS), Julie Pallant (Melbourne), Monika Janda (QUT)
Funding support: National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant
Research summary: Economic evaluation is used by the Australian government in deciding which medical services and pharmaceuticals should be funded. This study will develop quality of life utility measures for use in economic evaluation of cancer interventions in Australia and internationally. This represents a significant methodological contribution to the assessment of quality of life, effectiveness and efficiency in cancer, in one of Australia's national health priority areas.
Development of a health economics model of socio-demographic correlates of health-related quality of life in a Baby-Boomer population
Curtin Investigators: Richard Norman, Suzanne Robinson, Leon Straker
External Chief Investigators: Romola Bucks, Michael Hunter, Elizabeth Geelhoed (UWA)
Research summary: As the Australian population ages, the focus of health policy turns not just to extending life, but to maximising the quality of life enjoyed by older Australians. Economists and healthcare decision makers are increasingly using generic quality of life instruments (like the SF-12 or SF-36) to quantify health-related quality of life and to put a value on improved quality of life resulting from changes in health policy. Being able to accurately predict quality of life in the older population, and the differences in this prediction based on a range of demographic factors, is of significant importance to health policy. This project is using the Healthy Ageing data to explore this issue in a large Busselton-based cohort.
Parent Infant Feeding Initiative: a study to enhance breast feeding duration
Curtin Investigators; Bruce Maycock, Suzanne Robinson, Yvonne Hauck, Jane Scott, Satvinder Dhaliwal, Peter Howat, Sharyn Burns, Richard Norman
Research summary: This 3-year RCT will involve the development, implementation and evaluation of an intervention to increase the duration of breastfeeding amongst participating families in metropolitan Perth WA. The study will require the development and testing of additional intervention elements to enhance those already developed during a successful completed study (the FIFI trial). This will be followed by the implementation of a RCT involving a sample of 1200 parents (1200 fathers and 1200 mothers) recruited from hospitals in the Perth metropolitan area. The interventions will consist of a control group intervention (the usual antenatal education offered by that hospital), two medium interventions groups and one high level intervention group. Beneficial outcomes may include increased duration of breastfeeding, delaying the use of infant formula and solid foods, a better start to life for the infants and less potential disease later in life. The study will also explore the cost effectiveness of each of the three interventions.
A pilot project to develop and implement an automated surveillance system for antibiotic prescribing in general practice with view to monitoring antibiotic use, providing feedback to prescribers and developing and implementing interventions to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.
Curtin Investigators; Associate Professor Linda Selvey, Associate Professor Suzanne Robinson, Amy E Harrison, MPH

Phd students

  • Ahmed Alzahrani
    Project: Clinicians Attitudes toward Patient Safety: A sequential Explanatory Mixed Methods Study in Saudi Arabia
    Supervisors: Suzanne Robinson, Jan Lewis
  • Asrath Usman
    Project: Clinicians Attitudes toward Patient Safety: A sequential Explanatory Mixed Methods Study in Saudi Arabia
    Supervisors: Suzanne Robinson, Maryanne Doherty
  • Wendy Nicholls
    Project; Cleft lip and palate – a comparative psychosocial perspective
    Supervisors: Suzanne Robinson, Linda Selvey, Martin Persson(UK)
  • Kara Lily
    Project: The impacts of political changes on decreased investment in health promotion in in Queensland
    Supervisors: Suzanne Robinson, Linda Selvey, Jonathan Hallett
  • Jennifer Lynch
    Project: The aspirations and practice of telecare: a case study of telecare in England
    Supervisors: Jon Glasby (UK), Tom Sorrel (UK), Suzanne Robinson
  • Thomas Daniels
    Project: Public involvement in disinvestment
    Supervisors: Iestyn Williams (UK), Suzanne Robinson, Stirling Bryan (Canada) Craig Mitton (Canada)
  • Caroline Yates

Adjunct appointments

  • Brian Wall
  • Eugenia Cronin
  • Craig Mitton (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  • Jon Glasby (University of Birmingham, UK)
  • Kim Jelphs
  • Iestyn Williams (University of Birmingham, UK)
  • Helen Dickinson (University of Melbourne)