Cohort 2 (2017–2018)

Naomi Gibbs

Naomi’s undergraduate degree was a BSc in Economics from the University of Manchester, graduating with the Manchester School Prize for Economics.

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Naomi’s undergraduate degree was a BSc in Economics from the University of Manchester, graduating with the Manchester School Prize for Economics. Following this she worked in the third sector; initially working with refugees in Sheffield before moving to the British Red Cross facilitating leadership development and broader learning provision. She joined the University of Sheffield in 2015 as a Learning and Impact Associate on a national evaluation team for a Big Lottery Funded programme supporting individuals with multiple needs whilst mapping and influencing the systems that surround them. Multiple needs defined here as; substance misuse, homelessness, mental ill health and reoffending. In 2016 she received an NIHR studentship to study an MSc in Economics and Health Economics, a joint course delivered by ScHARR and the Department of Economics. Naomi’s research interests are increasing the evidence base for alcohol policy effectiveness in LMICs, adaptability of policy decision models between countries, decision modelling as a way for key stakeholders to understand the system that surrounds the decision problem, how equity can be considered within economic decision models.

In her first year of the Wellcome programme, Naomi undertook modules in Further Statistical Methods for Health Economic Analysis, Epidemiology, Key Issues in Global Public Health, and Contemporary Health Psychology and Behaviour Change.

Her year one research attachments looked at the factors that support or hamper the use of health economic models within real-world public health decision-making settings, the causal relationship between wellbeing and health behaviour, and how quantitative and/or mathematical modelling approaches are employed in the emerging field of health policy and systems research in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs),

Title of PhD

Economic modelling of alcohol pricing policies in South Africa, with a focus on equity.

Supervisors

Petra Meier, Colin Angus, Simon Dixon

Colette Kearney

Colette completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Glasgow and a Masters of Medical Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield.

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Colette completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Glasgow and a Masters of Medical Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield. Between studying and undertaking her PhD, she worked with children in the early years, teaching English as a Second Language. This role led to her interest in early years nutrition, an interest which she took forward into her Master’s degree by working with the Children’s Food Trust to evaluate their early years nutrition training for childminders. Upon completion of her Masters, she worked as a research assistant in ScHARR investigating methods to reduce the consumption of high energy dense snacks in pre-school children. Colette’s research interests are within the fields of obesity prevention, childhood nutrition and public health economic modelling. She is particularly interested in methods to promote healthy eating in the early years and the impact this may have on long term health outcomes.

As part of the Wellcome Programme Colette has received training in the basic principles of Economic Evaluation, Costeffectiveness Modelling for Health Technology Assessment, decision analytic modelling and discrete event simulation. She is currently undertaking further training in qualitative research design and analysis and has begun working towards becoming an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Title of PhD

Grandparental influence on young children’s diets and long-term health outcomes.

Supervisors

Samantha Caton, Penny Breeze

Colette’s PhD is exploring the role that grandparents have on the diets of children aged 2-4 and to explore whether they could be a target for intervention to improve children’s health outcomes. She will assess the acceptability, feasibility of an intervention designed to support grandparents with healthy food and drink provision and develop a decision analytic model to assess the long term costeffectiveness of the intervention.

Colette has published the following paper:

Reale S, Kearney C, Hetherington M, Croden F, Cecil J, Carstairs S, et al. The Feasibility and Acceptability of Two Methods of Snack Portion Control in United Kingdom (UK) Preschool Children: Reduction and Replacement. Nutrients. 2018;10:1493. doi:10.3390/nu10101493.

Coming from a psychology and nutrition background, I had very little knowledge of health economics before starting the programme. Don’t let this put you off as the scheme provides you with ample training and support. It is a great opportunity to learn new skills and question how other disciplines can be incorporated into your research area“.
Joseph Kwon

Joseph has completed an undergraduate BA degree in Economics at the University of Cambridge and an MSc degree in Health Economics at the University of York.

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Joseph has completed an undergraduate BA degree in Economics at the University of Cambridge and an MSc degree in Health Economics at the University of York. His previous research interest was in measurement of health utilities for childhood and adolescent populations, having published a systematic review and meta-regression of childhood health utilities.

For my PhD, I am focusing on preventive interventions to reduce frequency and severity of falls in community-dwelling elderly persons. I hope to build a public health economic model that incorporates capacity, costs and effectiveness of multi-component strategies for falls prevention, using Sheffield’s falls prevention programme as a case study.

Title of PhD

Capacity modelling of multifactorial falls prevention for community-dwelling elderly persons: cost- effectiveness of implementing an evidence-based programme in Sheffield.

Supervisors

Tracey Young, Hazel Squires, Janet Harris

In Year One of the Wellcome programme, Joseph undertook the following modules: Health Needs Assessment, Clinical Trials, Design of Experiments and Medical Statistics, Advanced Simulation Methods, and Key Issues in Global Public Health. The first three modules are highly relevant to his PhD: Health Needs Assessment for conceptualising the method of identifying health need (in this case, the high risk of falling) in a set environment; Clinical Trials, Design of Experiments and Medical Statistics for understanding clinical trial evidence and survival analysis both of which he will use heavily to build his statistical model; and Advanced Simulation Methods for familiarisation with building a discrete-events simulation model.

Joseph’s first year research attachment was with Professor Stephen Walters and Dr Tracey Young and looked at the statistical analysis of categorical patient-reported outcomes. His findings were presented as a poster at the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) in Dublin. His third research attachment with Dr Pete Dodd and Dr Julie Balen was undertaken with a fellow cohort two Wellcome PhD candidate, Naomi Gibbs. They systematically reviewed peerreviewed articles that utilised mathematical models to evaluate policies and clinical interventions designed to reduce non- communicable disease burden in low- and middle-income countries. The work is still ongoing and Joseph and Naomi hope to publish the results in a top peer-reviewed journal.

At the start of Joseph’s second year he attended courses on decision modelling in R, qualitative research design (interviews and focus groups) and analysis of NHS Digital’s Hospital Episode Statistics, both of which are highly relevant to his PhD.

Joseph’s PhD is a mixed-methods project involving both quantitative modelling and qualitative elements. Falls are one of the leading causes of disability and healthcare utilisation in the elderly – a problem which will increase with ageing population. They are also largely preventable, with many interventions such as exercise therapies to improve strength and balance, home risk modification and medication review being found to be clinically effective in reducing the risk of falling in randomised controlled trial setting. However, implementation of these interventions is poor in the real world owing to poor coordination among service providers, insufficient capacity and low participant motivation. In collaboration with Sheffield CCG and using their primary and secondary care data, Joseph plans to build a statistical model that demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of an intervention pathway that prevents falls before they lead to serious injury. He will be organising a focus group of professionals involved in falls prevention services to design an optimal intervention pathway for Sheffield, including falls risk screening, multidisciplinary assessment and individually-tailored intervention. Current users and non-users of falls prevention services among the Sheffield elderly population will also be interviewed to gain their perspective. Joseph’s objective is for the model to result in evidence-based commissioning of falls prevention services at a local health authority area.

Joseph has published the following papers:
Sundus Mahdi

Sundus completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Health Psychology at University College London.

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Sundus completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Health Psychology at University College London. She has previously worked at Sheffield Children’s Hospital as a Research Project Manager where she managed an NIHR funded research project for the delivery of a study investigating the health status in children and young people with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. She also interned at Public Health England and worked mainly within the remit of work, worklessness and health. She also helped organise PHE national conferences where she liaised with speakers and facilitated workshops, including “Everybody Active Every Day” and “Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People and Communities”. She worked collaboratively to develop a set of tools for businesses including a Return on Investment tool and a Health Needs Assessment tool, and contributed to writing and editing rapid reviews, conference reports and health promotion material. Before that, she took a Research Assistant position at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust where she worked on a number of projects including a survey on improving access to NHS mental health services amongst Black Minority Ethnics in the Bradford District and an evaluation of a complex Stop Delirium! intervention for the prevention of delirium in care homes. She has volunteered at the Forced Migration Trauma Service, as an Assistant Psychologist, where she cared for the mental health and wellbeing of refugees escaping war-torn countries. Her role emphasised the importance of psychometric measures and audit to track patient recovery and improve service delivery. Her research interests are, behaviour change, weight gain prevention, childhood obesity, health policy.

Sundus has completed numerous health economics and decision modelling modules at ScHARR, including: Economic Evaluation, Costeffectiveness Modelling for Health Technology Assessment; Advanced Simulation Methods; valuing the benefits of healthcare; Further Statistical Methods for Health Economic Analysis; Using Policy to Strengthen Health Systems, and Nutritional Epidemiology. She has also had the opportunity to attend external training courses, including a 4 day intensive course on Decision Analysis in R for Technologies in Health and an introduction to policy evaluation for public health. In addition, she has attended relevant workshops and conferences.

Title of PhD

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sugar-reduction population-level interventions and policies

Supervisors

Jim Chilcott, Nicola Buckland

Sundus’s PhD is specifically looking at investigating the short-term effectiveness of a dietary digital intervention (Change4Life Food Scanner app) in reducing children’s sugar consumption through parental behaviour change. In order to achieve this, she will be undertaking a number of steps: 1) conduct a systematic review of economic evaluations and cost-effectiveness studies of childhood dietary interventions; 2) design and implement a pilot randomised controlled trial; 3) develop a dietaryfocused childhood obesity prevention economic model to estimate the long term costs and health impacts of the Food Scanner app.

In 2018, Sundus did an oral presentation at the 5th UK Congress on Obesity 2018 on the relationship between meal times, calorie consumption and weight status amongst children:

Caton, S., Dickerson, A., & Mahdi, S. (2018). Abstracts from the 5th UK Congress on Obesity 2018: Oral presentation abstracts. The relationship between meal times, calorie consumption and weight status amongst children. International Journal of Obesity Supplements, 8, 6-13

“I would highly recommend this course to individuals who have an interest in multidisciplinary research, embedding elements of public health, health economics and decision science. Although it is an intensive programme, the benefits, knowledge and skills acquired along the way are invaluable”.
Nicolas Silva Illanes

Nicolas graduated as a physician and practised as a general practitioner for one year before starting graduate studies. He studied a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Public Health at the University of Chile.

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Nicolas graduated as a physician and practised as a general practitioner for one year before starting graduate studies. He studied a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Public Health at the University of Chile. After completing that training he studied Biostatistics at the same University. He has received further training in Econometrics and Decision Modelling during recent years. Prior to joining ScHARR, he worked as a researcher and lecturer in the School of Public Health in the University of Chile. During this period he was involved in several research and consulting projects covering many topics including Analysis of socioeconomic inequalities on the incidence of chronic diseases in Chile using longitudinal data; Cost effectiveness analysis of colorectal cancer in Chile; Analysis of cost of disease in Chile using the System of Health Account methodology; The role of fiscal policy in the improvement of diets and prevention of non communicable diseases in Chile: impact evaluation and modelling. Nicolas’s research interests are health inequalities, cancer survival and cancer care policies, pharmaceutical policies.

During the first year of his programme, Nicolas undertook training in Microeconometrics, Public Economics, Microeconomic Analysis, Econometric Methods, and Health Economics. In his second year, he is receiving further training in Simultaneous Equation Modeling which he expects to apply to his current research.

Title of PhD

Analysis of socioeconomic inequalities in adult life expectancy in Chile.

Supervisors

Aki Tsuchiya, Mónica Hernández Alava, Daniel Hojman (external supervisor)

Nicolas’s PhD seeks to answer the following research questions:

  • What could be considered illegitimate causes of health inequalities?
  • To what extent is inequality in adult mortality in Chile determined by illegitimate causes?
  • How has the life expectancy by socioeconomic groups evolved in Chile since 1990?
  • Have the low socioeconomic groups in Chile faced an expansion of morbidity compared to the most advantaged groups?

Nicolas participated in the 2018 European Health Economics Association in Maastricht  and the 2019 Health Economics Study Group Winter Meeting in York. On both occasions, he presented the results of work co-authored with Andy Dickerson and Samantha Caton that looked at the impact of obesity on wages in the Chilean labour market. He is also working on a paper with Aki Tsuchiya and Suzy Paisley about the impact on health inequalities of interventions to prevent obesity.