Maternal and child healthDeakin Health Economics
The Economics of maternal and child health research stream at Deakin Health Economics is dedicated to the economic evaluation of maternal and child health interventions, working closely with organisations interested in assessing the cost-effectiveness of their programs.
Our team is involved in a broad range of research areas from pregnancy and postnatal care, through early childhood programs and up to programs for school-aged children. Increasingly, programs in this field of research are conceptualised as community interventions, targeting multiple groups across multiple settings and our economic evaluation methods seek to match this focus of evaluation and design.
Trial-based economic evaluations
We focus on micro-economic analysis of population health actions in maternal and child health – especially economic evaluation alongside population health trials. We specialise in partnering with our collaborators including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, with whom we are conducting economic evaluation alongside randomised controlled trials of new and improved ways of supporting children. Our evaluations range from preventive to treatment interventions across all areas of maternal and child health and across multiple settings (such as clinical settings, schools and the broader community).
Social return on investment of prevention programs
We conduct longer term cost-benefit or return on investment analysis on multiple family and young people support services, in partnership with Government and other institutions (for example, Parenting Research Centre). Depending on the research interest and research context, we adopt the appropriate economic evaluation frameworks. These include a simple costing of a prevention program to a long-term modelled cost-benefit analyses of the program. For example, we conducted cost-benefit analysis to an Access to Early Learning program to vulnerable families in Victoria, collaborating with the Department of Education and Training or return on investment to a family domestic violence service, in partnership with the Whitehorse City Council.
Methodological challenges research
We also undertake research which is dedicated to ensuring that the economic methods and techniques used in health economics are appropriate and fit for purpose in the maternal and child health context. Such research is predominantly focused on how to measure family and children health outcomes for economic evaluation. For example, we have recently published a paper examining the performance of a multi-attribute utility (MAUi) health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measure and a non-MAUi HRQoL measure in children with congenital hearing loss or developmental language disorder. We have also collaborated with other researchers to publish a mapping algorithm for use to transform HRQoL scores from a non-MAUi to a MAUi HRQoL measures.
Burden of disease studies
We undertake a broad range of research in which we evaluate economic burden (both costs and HRQoL burden) of a specific health condition (for example, child low language ability) from early childhood to adolescence. We use both nationally representative databases such as the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, as well as longitudinal language specialist cohort of children with clinical validated language measures (the Early Language in Victoria Study).
Brief examples of our more recent work spanning these areas of research include:
Trial-based economic evaluations:
H Le, L Gold, G Abbott, D Crawford, S McNaughton, C Mhurchu, C Pollard, K Ball (2016), Vol. 159, pp. 83-91, Social science and medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1 Economic evaluation of price discounts and skill-building strategies on purchase and consumption of healthy food and beverages: The SHELf randomized controlled trial.
H Le, S Petersen, F Mensah, L Gold, M Wake, S Reilly (2019), pp. 1-7, Value in Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1 Health-Related Quality of Life in Children With Low Language or Congenital Hearing Loss, as Measured by the PedsQL and Health Utility Index Mark 3
R Sweeney, G Chen, L Gold, F Mensah, M Wake (2019), Quality of Life Research, C1 Mapping PedsQLTM scores onto CHU9D utility scores: estimation, validation and a comparison of alternative instrument versions
Burden of disease studies/reviews:
H Le, L Le, P Nguyen, S Mudiyanselage, P Eadie, F Mensah, E Sciberras, L Gold (2019), pp. 1-23, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, London, Eng., C1 Health-related quality of life, service utilization and costs of low language: A systematic review
H Le, L Gold, F Mensah, P Eadie, E Bavin, L Bretherton, S Reilly (2017), Vol. 19, pp. 360-369, International journal of speech-language pathology, Abingdon, Eng., C1 Service utilisation and costs of language impairment in children: the early language in Victoria Australian population-based study
Economics of maternal and child health research stream staff