Member Focus

Hamish Robertson


Organisation: Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, UTS


Current position: Senior Research Fellow


Research Interests: Health and medical geography in the fields of health, ageing and disability.

How did you get started in HSR and what drew you to it? 

I have been in and out of service-related research for many years. I spent some time in multicultural health which showed me how limited many health (and related) services are for the audiences they are meant to serve.


What was the first project you worked on and where? 

A field trip project on aged care service provision in rural areas during my undergraduate geography degree more than 30 years ago.


What are some of the key projects you are currently working on? 

I’m currently working on several projects including some in-development work. Topics include workplace injury research, patient safety, big data applications and some other emerging topics.


What have been your career highlights so far and why? 

Finally finishing the PhD and starting to get international invitations to write, collaborate and present.


Can you tell us more about your PhD project?

My PhD was titled “A Geography of Alzheimer’s Disease in NSW” and focused on connecting demographic changes to the epidemiology of ageing, using spatial analysis and data visualisation methods (GIS and Tableau in this case). It included a spatial analysis pf projected AD scenarios in respect of current health service provider types, including acute hospitals, ACATS, ambulance stations, GPs, pharmacists and some HACC services in the one spatial/visual model.


What’s next for you in your career?

Building an international network of health and medical geographers (and others) to look at more connected systemic approaches to the problems that population ageing, rising disability and multimorbidity will present.


What is your motivation for becoming involved with the HSRAANZ? 

The sheer scope of what can be, and is, presented at the conference each time I attend. So much of it is really current and therefore highly topical to what is going on in the health services sector.


What do you think is the biggest challenge for ECRs seeking to build a HSR career?

To be fair, the profile of HSRAANZ needs to grow and diversify so that people know they have these options available to them. I recently sent through information about the annual HSRAANZ prizes to a colleague who had never heard of them, and he’s been in the sector for many years. I also think areas of convergence, such as big data methods and health services, will offer funded opportunities outside of or beyond the traditional options. The future of health services research looks promising to me for early career researchers if they pick real concerns where they can potentially make a positive impact.


What do you get up to when you are not conducting research?

I try to write for as wide an audience as possible and not just for academics. That means blog pieces and articles for industry, for other disciplines and for intersectional issues. I contribute some work in the museums field, for example, because I can see how population ageing and disability will affect cultural heritage providers, and I also think they have something to offer aged care that goes well beyond conventional clinical paradigms.


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