Member Focus

Dr Suzanne Robinson

• Position:Professor and Director
• Organisation: Health Policy Management at Curtin University
• Qualifications: PhD, from University of Birmingham UK entitled ‘Valuing health states for use in economic evaluation: an investigation of validity and reliability’ from University of Birmingham UK
• Research Interests:Health systems research with a focus on health economics (decision making and priority setting in health)

How did you get started in HSR? I got hooked when studying for my Masters in Health Economics

What was the first project you worked on and where? My first major project was a European study that elicited disability weights for diseases.

What are some of the key projects you are currently working on? Curtin are the lead academic partner for the 3 WA PHNs and I am leading that work – the focus is around population health planning and resource allocation along with building the capacity of research in general practice. Other projects include: Parent Infant Feeding Initiative: a study to enhance breast feeding duration – my involvement is around the economic component – this is a really exciting multi-disciplinary project funded by Healthway.

Career highlights so far? This is a difficult one – I think for me it’s seeing research being translated into policy and or practice – so working with policy makers and clinicians bringing research to the coal face.
There are a number of people who have influenced and mentored me along my academic journey. If I had to pick the most influential then I would include Professor Stirling Bryan and Professor Judith Smith both have been very important to me and my career. Apologies to the other amazing people I have been lucky to have the chance to work with.

What’s next for you in your career? What are you looking forward to? I am looking forward to developing the research capacity in health systems and health economics in Western Australia- there are some great people and great opportunities that I hope we can take forward- these include our WA health economics group that involves a collaboration of health economist from across WA Universities and our work with WA Primary Health Networks.

What was your motivation for becoming involved with the HSRAANZ? My passion for health services research and to help grow that interest and collaboration in WA
What do you see as the most important goal or greatest challenge for the Association over the next few years? Promoting the importance of health services research and growing the capacity of the next generation of researchers.

What do you think is the best way of having an influence on policy? I passionately believe that academia should not only undertake high quality research, but also help policy makers and those implementing policy to understand the implications of research work and use research evidence to inform and shape their own policy and practice. So the work I have done around priority setting with colleagues in the UK is an example of this. Our research helped to map out some of the work being undertaken by local decision makers and allowed for the sharing of good practice examples – so what worked and why.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the HSR? I think it is really important to work with senior academics who take the mentor role very seriously and will be able to provide the support and guidance needed by early career researchers.

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