Population Interventions

Research Overview

The Population Interventions Unit (PI) aims:

To provide robust evidence on the health and cost impacts of population interventions, through causal inference and simulation approaches from epidemiology, economics and data science.

Stream 1 of PI is the application of contemporary causal inference and natural experiment methods to quantify the effect of some exposure or intervention on health outcomes. For example, the impact of Health Star Rating  (HSR) nutrition labels on both formulation of food and consumer purchasing.  Professor Blakely also teaches 4-day short courses in contemporary epidemiological methods .

Stream 2 of PI is about estimating health gains at the population-level for an interventions – when we already know much about exposure-outcome associations.  We seldom systematically ask questions like: “when applied to the population, how much health gain will intervention X achieve compared to intervention Y?  Over what time period?  At what cost?” Answering these questions is vital to forecasting the impact of a range of interventions and optimising policy-making for best value-for-money. Professor Blakely also teaches a 1-day short course on using epidemiological and economic methods for evaluating public health interventions.  Projects within Stream 2 include:

  • Building next-generation simulation models (VIVARIUM)
  • A body of tobacco control (and e-cigarette) evaluations
  • The collation of 100s of evaluations in the Australia New Zealand Health Interventions League Table (ANZ-HILT), a world-first online interactive tool

PI sits on a platform of collaborations and data sharing.

Concept diagram

Staff

Professor Tony Blakely (unit head)

For other staff, see separate PI projects

Collaborators

PI is built on many Australasian and international collaborations.  Key ones include:

  • The Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE3) at the University of Otago, Wellington, NZ. (Prof Blakely directed this programme from 2010-19 and continues as a Co-Director.)
  • The Dietary Interventions: Evidence & Translation (DIET) Programme at the University of Auckland, NZ.
  • The Institute of health Metrics and Evaluation (home of the Global Burden of Disease Study), University of Washington – with whom PI is collaborating with building the next-generation VIVARIUM simulation model.

Funding

PI receives strategic funding by the University of Melbourne, and funding through its projects from:

  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (league tables)
  • The Health Research Council of New Zealand (health star rating [HSR] and tobacco projects).

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.