Health services research is a key priority area for the Medical Research Future Fund, but from where will the health services researchers come that are able to design and implement the required research?
The biennial HSRAANZ conference is a well-established and continually growing event that showcases HSR going on around Australia and New Zealand. This year’s conference is being held on 1-3 November on the Gold Coast. (More Information). The Association’s other web-based and in-person events also support dissemination and networking as do events such as the NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation, but more could be done.
The Health Research Board in Ireland funds the SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme. SPHeRE expands an established structured PhD Programme in Health Services Research as part of an objective to create a national network in Population Health and Health Services Research incorporating all higher education institutions in Ireland.
For each of five years (2013-2017), the SPHeRE programme will fund six full-time scholars with up to six further scholars funded from an alternate source. The programme includes six online teaching modules that cover policy perspectives and key methodological issues. The programme also includes an annual conference, which is similar in structure to the HSRAANZ conference as well as an alumni-scholar coaching panel.
The establishment of a similar program in Australia should be a priority for the MRFF and the proposed National Institute of Research. The HSRAANZ is ready and willing to help develop an open and inclusive HSR-related PhD program that is suited to the Australian context.