I am a Professor in Health Economics in Deakin Health Economics which sits within the Institute for Health Transformation at Deakin University. Besides a management role as Deputy Head of the unit, I lead a team of researchers specialising in the economics of obesity and non-communicable diseases.
Having cemented a relationship with some INfant Feeding, Active play and NuTrition (INFANT) team members through the Centre of Research Excellence In the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH CRE) that is focused on obesity prevention in early childhood, I was delighted to be asked to join the INFANT team as a Principal Investigator. My role is to oversee an economic evaluation of the roll-out of the INFANT program.
The INFANT project is an implementation trial, so the role of the health economist is to determine how these parameters will be impacted when the program is rolled out across the state of Victoria, outside of the closely controlled environment of a research trial. As an economist, my attention will be focused on the resources required in the scale up of the program, and their associated cost.
What I enjoy about the INFANT team is the members’ enthusiasm and dedication to the project. Many have been associated with the INFANT program since its initial inception, are passionate in their belief in the program’s merits and are highly committed in their endeavours to translate and make it available to a wider audience. The team is also well connected to policymakers in the field and is in an excellent position to make their dream of embedding INFANT into local government practice a reality.
From a health economist perspective, my hope is that all future early childhood research considers the inclusion of an economic evaluation from the outset.