Graduate students affiliated with CHaRMS
- Anne Devlin
Work disability in Northern Ireland is the highest of all UK regions. This is normally attributed to poorer health outcomes but the pattern of work disability across the UK does not correlate with health across the regions. My PhD will explore the factors which are driving work disability in Northern Ireland and try to explain the much higher rates. Furthermore, the proportion of out-of-work disability benefit claimants who have a mental/behavioural condition is much higher in Northern Ireland than England and therefore I will be examining to what extent the ‘Troubles’ have contributed to work disability. As well as the recent conflict, I will also explore other explanatory factors which could explain the high levels of work disability including hidden unemployment, a claimant culture or socioeconomic factors. At present, there is little existing literature on work disability in Northern Ireland.
- Raymond Henderson
The working title of my studentship is “Cost-Effectiveness of Stratified Medicine in Cancer.” I have helped author one paper “Shooting for the Moon – The Role of Precision Cancer Medicine in Modern Cancer Care”, which details how precision (stratified) medicine may lead to a cure or a least a more effective therapeutic intervention than traditional chemotherapy. However, prices for these new targeted therapies have increased dramatically, based on free market economics rather than value-based pricing, leading to unequal access to cancer drugs Europe wide. I have recently submitted a second paper on which I am lead author, “Molecular Biomarkers in Stratified Medicine in Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review of Health Economic Analyses.” This paper found that genetic profiling prior to administration of targeted therapies were as good if not better than no profiling, but could not be deemed cost-effective due to high prices. While stratified medicine approaches to chemotherapeutics were mixed, either demonstrating cost-effectiveness in the case of fluorouracil or no cost-effectiveness in the case of irinotecan, and the use of the Oncotype DX colon assay did show cost-effectiveness in predetermining whether individuals should or shouldn’t receive chemotherapy. I am currently investigating the economic burden of colorectal cancer within the European Union. A previous study found wide variation of cancer costs between European countries, which warrants further investigation. I hope to demonstrate the economic feasibility of the stratified medicine approach in cancer therapy as better targeted treatments come through the drug pipeline. By stipulating value-based pricing for existing and future targeted therapies with the stratified medicine paradigm both healthcare payer and patient can enter an equitable contract with pharmaceutical companies. With ten years’ experience in the biotechnology and a MSc. in Stratified Medicine at Ulster University, I am currently a PhD student in Healthcare Economics at Queen’s Management School in collaboration with Queen’s University School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Biomedical Sciences.
- Carla Prentice
Carla is a PhD student in Finance at Queen’s Management School and the Centre of Excellence for Public Health NI. Her core research focus is on financial stress and the consequences for mental and physical wellbeing, particularly the mechanisms through which this relationship occurs. She is currently making use of data from the Dutch National Bank Household survey to conduct longitudinal mediation analysis to examine the extent to which time discounting acts as a mediator between financial stress, health behaviours and health.