UQ health economist earns distinguished dentistry award

14 Feb 2019
Stephen Birch
Professor Stephen Birch

A University of Queensland scientist has been recognised for his outstanding contributions to oral health services research.

Professor Stephen Birch, Director and Taylor Family Chair of UQ’s Centre for the Business and Economics of Health (CBEH), has been awarded the 2019 International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Distinguished Scientist Award for Behavioural, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research.

The IADR Distinguished Scientists Award Programme acknowledges renowned scientists who have made significant contributions to original, outstanding or innovative discoveries.

The Behavioural, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Award recognises outstanding achievements in the areas of health services research as they relate to dentistry.

Professor Bruce Abernethy, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, congratulated Professor Birch on his commitment to health economics to ensure that healthcare systems meet the needs of the population.

“Professor Birch is a pioneer in the field of health economics who works tirelessly in the evaluation of health care systems, with particular emphasis on equity in health care resource allocation, as well as needs-based approaches to health care funding and workforce planning,” Professor Abernethy said.

“This award is validation of his efforts and achievements in informing policy and making a lasting impact on oral health systems across the globe.”

Professor Birch said he was humbled to be acknowledged for his work.

“It’s a big honour, particularly given the list of previous winners represents a who’s who of Oral Health Services researchers, including Australia’s John Spencer of University of Adelaide,” Professor Birch said.

“Indeed, it is unusual for an economist to receive the award; I think it is only the second time it has gone to an economist.

“However, part of this award belongs to the dentists I have collaborated with over the last 30 years. People don’t normally think of having fun with dentists but I have worked with some remarkable colleagues over this period.”

Prior to joining UQ in 2018, Professor Birch was a professor of health economics at McMaster University, Canada. He has also worked at the Medical Care Research Unit, Sheffield University, UK, and at the Centre for Health Economics, York University, UK.

He has held honorary appointments at the School of Dentistry, University of Malmo, Sweden; School of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada and the School of Public Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Professor Birch holds a Doctor of Philosophy in economics from York University (UK), a Master of Science in fiscal studies from Bath University (UK), and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Sheffield University.

He holds visiting professorial appointments at the University of Manchester, UK (since 2006) and the University of Technology, Sydney (since 2003).

During his career, Professor Birch has been a consultant with the World Health Organization and the World Bank, as well as serving on many national and provincial health department expert panels and advisory councils for health workforce planning in Canada and the UK.

Professor Birch will be presented with the award at the IADR General Session & Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada, on 19 June 2019.

Media: UQ Communications, habs.media@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 3035, @UQhealth.