“I am looking at how we can improve patients’ lives by choosing treatments they are more likely to stick to”

“My research is based in Health Economics. It asks if the different ways doctors and patients think about treatments leads to non-adherence. I concentrated on the timing and intensity of treatments. This uses the economic concept of time preferences. I developed a theoretical model of the patient-doctor interaction, and tested it in a laboratory experiment. It starts from the notion that doctors don’t really know their patients’ preferences and patients don’t anticipate their own non-adherence to treatment. So I am looking at how doctors could make alternative treatment recommendations, finding plans patients may be more likely to adhere to. This research will hopefully help improve patients’ lives by finding the best treatment for them, even if this does not maximise their health. The research is relevant to a number of settings. For example, simplifying complex drug regimens could improve adherence at a small cost to overall health.”

“I was attracted to the University by the top quality health experts available here”

“The Health Economics Research Unit here is internationally respected, and the oldest in the UK. The supervision offered is excellent. I met my supervisor (Prof. van der Pol) while studying in Edinburgh. After discussing my research interests and her expertise, we developed a proposal together and I felt confident that coming to Aberdeen for my PhD was the right decision. I received funding from the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the University, which Health Economics has been particularly successful in securing in a competitive process. I was attracted to the University by the internationally renowned health economists here and work closely with them – on my PhD and other projects – during my time here. I was lucky enough to have joint supervision from Health Economics and the Economics department to get a wider perspective on my research. ”

“I was fortunate enough to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Anniversary prize, as part of a delegation from the University.”

“The Health Economics Unit is based at the Foresterhill campus. This is a huge benefit as I am able to interact with clinical academics more easily and apply my economics work to the most pressing health problems. Our centre is a great place to work. There is always support available academically and we enjoy ourselves outside of work too. We play badminton together and organise hikes in the highlands when we can. I also take part in free Yoga sessions, available at the Suttie Centre. I have been able to travel widely in my time researching. I attended a summer school in Venice, a workshop in Cologne and presented at conferences in Hamburg, Lausanne, and Odense in Denmark. I was encouraged to take part in these by my supervisor and I was able to get funding from the University. I was fortunate enough to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Anniversary prize, meeting the Duchess of Cornwall, as part of a delegation from the University. The award was for longstanding excellence in health services research.”

“There is high demand for health economists in government and the NHS at the moment”

“I have a number of opportunities for after graduation. My research has become increasingly important due to continued restraints NHS budgets. There is a further focus on patient-centred care in Scotland as part of Realistic Medicine. Treatments need to be cost effective, and effective for patients. I may extend my research by looking into specific conditions in order to understand what treatment methods have been successful and what could be done better in the future. There is a high demand for health economists in government and the NHS at the moment, something I am considering pursuing a career in.”