CHE team

(L-R) Dr Samia Badji, Dr Sonja de New, Ms Karinna Saxby and Associate Professor Dennis Petrie

The economics of good health

How can disadvantaged people gain access to better health care and outcomes? By addressing research gaps, according to a team of researchers from the Monash Centre for Health Economics (CHE).

Research which collectively addresses under-researched issues that impact on people living with disabilities or disadvantage is making an active impact on policy.

Dr Samia Badji, Dr Sonja de New, Ms Karinna Saxby and Associate Professor Dennis Petrie have been awarded a Monash Business School 2020 Dean’s Award for Equity, Diversity and Social Inclusion Research Excellence.

Among the wide-ranging work of the group is research by Associate Professor Petrie, Dr Badji and Dr De New to address the under-researched area of health and wellbeing of people with disabilities as they participate in work.

In just one of their projects, the three demonstrated the link between the stigmatisation of sexual minorities and reduced healthcare, informing the media, psychologists, legal service providers and healthcare workers.

In Indigenous health, Associate Professor Petrie is set to produce the first causal evidence on how reduced co-payments affect healthcare use and mortality among people with chronic conditions.

By collaborating with National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to implement the findings, the research will help inform Closing the Gap policies. Associate Professor Petrie’s research into minimum pricing of alcohol has already informed Northern Territory policy.

With Ms Saxby, he is researching electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation; with Dr de New, he is researching reducing disadvantaged men’s alcohol and substance misuse; while Dr de New is investigating opioid misuse.

Finally, Dr Badji is investigating effects of gambling venue density on financial wellbeing, and eliminating hepatitis C in injecting drug users.

Together, they are demonstrating the role of economics in improving disadvantaged people’s health.