Graduate Certificate of Health Economics 2022 Graduates

  • Antonia Berkinshaw
  • Lovelyn James
  • Aaron Puller
  • Prue Orchard
  • Matthew McCarthy
  • Sharon Carey
  • Olivia Stephenson
  • Michelle King
  • Maja Gorniak
  • Miranda Casale
  • Da Eun Kim
  • Sushma Ashwin
  • Hayden Collins

Masters of Health Economics 2022 Graduates

Alison Vaughan at Graduation Ceremony, Warun Ponds
  • Elise Button
  • Neha Das
  • Anna Middleton
  • Mehr Gupta
  • Mitchell Dodds
  • Alison Vaughan
  • Sean Docking
  • Saiya Dawson
  • Vergil Dolar
  • Julia Meehan
  • Jerome Higgins
  • Fiona Summers


PhD Spotlight

Marufa Sultana

Marufa Sultana, PhD completed

Marufa Sultana’s PhD focused on childhood pneumonia management, an important child health problem in low-to-middle-income countries. As part of a wider team, she conducted a detailed economic evaluation of the day-care approach (DCA) over usual care for childhood severe pneumonia in Bangladesh.

The DCA sees children with pneumonia treated, fed and supported in hospital during the day, while their parents are educated on how to best care for them at home throughout the night.

The results demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of the DCA under multiple perspectives and highlighted the significant impact that the DCA approach could make in reducing health inequalities between rural and urban areas.

‘I was invited by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh to present my PhD study findings in-country in the DCA dissemination seminar, which was highlighted by at least 15 leading newspapers in Bangladesh,’ Marufa says.

Marufa at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh

‘The seminar hosted multiple policy makers and senior paediatricians.

‘Based on the economic findings of the DCA, the government of Bangladesh has decided to implement the DCA in a number of rural public health facilities, which implies the direct and significant policy impact of my work.’

Marufa reflects that her PhD journey was challenging but a wonderful experience overall.

‘The journey was stressful but I was always greatly embraced by my amazing supervisors and Deakin Health Economics (DHE) family,’ she says.

‘Of course, I feel light after my degree has been awarded. I am now able to manage more time for my family especially for my son who was the most deprived one.’

Looking to the future, Marufa is keen to continue in academia and her research in the field of child health economics, particularly in low or middle-income country contexts.

‘Currently I am looking for post-doctoral fellowship opportunities so that I can boost my career goal of combining research and teaching.’

At present, Marufa has been working as a research fellow within the Economics of Obesity stream within DHE and also engaged with some postgraduate level teaching. A key project for Marufa is the PRECIS (PRecision Evidence for Childhood obesity prevention InterventionS) project, which involves conducting several systematic reviews that aim to generate economic evidence of multi-strategy and multi-component community-based interventions (CBIs) for childhood obesity prevention.

‘The aim of this is to synthesise the range of outcomes reported in such complex interventions and to determine broader impacts of CBIs for obesity preventions.’

Phuong (Pam) Nguyen

Phuong (Pam) Nguyen, PhD submitted

Phuong (Pam) Nguyen’s PhD is about the economic credentials of sedentary behaviour interventions. The core component of her project was to build Australia’s first economic model that use excessive sitting time as a risk factor for chronic disease in modelling.

Pam’s work has demonstrated that a small reduction of around 36 minutes per person per day across Australian adult population would result in a substantial health care cost saving of $39 million a year.

Interventions targeted desk-based workers in office setting could achieve greater reduction in sitting time, more than 60 minutes per person per day. However, these interventions were costly and did not offer good value for money.

Reflecting on her life post-thesis submission, Pam says she feels a sense of both relief and satisfaction.

‘Life after thesis submission is a mix of so many things. I feel so relieved and satisfied that I reached a big milestone,’ she says.

‘At the same time, I feel confused and do not know what to do with all of the free time I suddenly have back! I had been studying late hours and every weekend for months.

‘The first thing I want to do is to spend time with family and friends, and travelling, things that I love but had to compromise on a lot during the PhD.’

Following the completion of her PhD, Pam’s research will focus on behaviour change interventions for healthier lifestyles, such as physical activity or sedentary behaviour interventions. She is currently working on a number of projects. Two are economic evaluations alongside trials to reduce sedentary behaviour at workplace: Be-Upstanding and Optimise.

‘I am also involved in two partnership grants with The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, one is working on the cost-effectiveness of alcohol policies and the other is systematic review looking at the co-benefits of preventive interventions. Another economic evaluation that I am working on is alongside a trial developing healthy stores for Indigenous People in remote areas,’ says Pam.

This year, Pam also worked on Leading the Report Card for Vietnam and participated in the Global Matrix 4.0 that assessed the level of physical activity in children and adolescents in 57 countries. The Global Matrix 4.0 was successfully launched at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress 2022.

Read more about Pam’s Australian-first economic model on sedentary behaviour.

Interested in further study?

Deakin’s Master of Health Economics gives graduates with a range of academic backgrounds – from nursing and pharmacy to business administration and health management – a strong theoretical foundation, plus the analytical and quantitative skills required to understand the complexities of healthcare financing.

You will learn skills in health technology assessment, economic evaluation of health interventions, resource allocation and priority setting, healthcare financing, health systems research and the health economics/health policy interface.

Learn more on the Deakin website.