Member Profile

Name: Jonathan Karnon

Current position and who with: Professor of Health Economics, University of Adelaide

Undergraduate degree: Economic and Social History

What is your area of expertise? Cost-effectiveness modeling; Analysis and evaluation of clinical practice; Estimation of opportunity costs; Exploring rabbit holes.

How did you get started in HSR? Stage 1: looking for an interesting area of applied economics. Stage 2: deciding there was more to life than building and analysing cost-effectiveness models.


What was the first project you worked on and where? An econometric analysis of ambulance response times at the Kremlin (the new-at-the-time NHS Executive building) in Leeds


What are some of the key projects you are currently working on? Estimating the opportunity costs of decisions to fund new technologies; developing guidance on the extrapolation of cancer survival curves; shared decision making for high risk surgical patients; practice nurse-led weight management in general practice.


Career highlights so far? Chairing ISPOR/SMDM modeling good practice taskforce group; winning first research grant as PI – a prospective hazard and improvement analysis of medication errors; examples of research links to policy and practice and of course becoming President of HSRAANZ.


Who has had the biggest influence over your career to date? Martin Buxton, Alan Brennan, Ron Akehurst, Mark Sculpher, Konrad Jamrozik, Janet Hiller, Annette Braunack-Mayer. Thinking about this list, I don’t think I could name more different people.


Have you had any important mentors? Not really, I’ve tried to learn from observing others – I wish I could say I took the best traits of the above list, but unfortunately not.


What’s next for you in your career? I will continue to pursue a mix of what really interests me and what I think is likely to have the greatest impact on improving the health system.


What are you looking forward to? Port Adelaide winning a flag, oh you mean related to HSR? Seeing the impact of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) on HSR in Australia.


What was your motivation for becoming involved with the HSRAANZ? A friendly, supportive and wide ranging conference (1st conference – Brisbane in 2009) and later, the opportunity the Association offers to promote HSR in Australia and NZ.


What do you see as the most important goal or greatest challenge for the Association over the next few years? To help HSR make the most of the opportunities offered by the MRFF, including the opportunity to build capacity in the academia and in the health system.


What do you think is the best way of having an influence on policy? Being the Minister for Health. Alternatively, I think it is important to have a policy or practice impact goal at the outset of a research project. Early, broad and ongoing engagement with stakeholders can help build impact. Broad dissemination using Croakey and the Conversation, for example, can get attention. Ultimately, nothing works better than talking to the people who make decisions relevant to your research, but that is often not possible and so you have to hope your other efforts are picked up directly or indirectly.


What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the HSR? Work on your weaknesses – I’m not a natural public speaker nor networker and I’m not claiming to have mastered either art, but I have improved. Have ideas about interesting HSR, discuss with close colleagues and then make contact with relevant stakeholders and experts – what’s the worst that could happen?


What do you get up to when you are not conducting research? Trying to stop talking about research with my wife (a fellow health economist).

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