Leading Health Economist Joins CMU Australia

Posted 6th February 2019

In the tradition of attracting the best and the brightest, Carnegie Mellon University in Australia ((CMU-A) welcomes to campus Professor Donald Shepard from Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts in the USA.

Prof Shepard is the 3rd recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy which is jointly funded by CMU-A and Flinders University.

His area of interest is the methods and applications of cost and cost-benefit analyses in health, particularly with regard to Results-based Financing (RBF) for major diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, HIV/AIDS and heart disease.

Under his Fulbright award, Prof Shepard will teach a mini-course on Economic Evaluation of Health Technologies at CMU-A and continue his research.

Dr Don Shepard with Carnegie Mellon students

His course looks at the costs of introducing or changing health technologies, analyzing the benefits and assessing methods to achieve good value from investment in health technology, and applying these techniques to a health problem in South Australia.

On the research front, Prof Shepard will collaborate with South Australian government on an economic evaluation and on financing options for the State’s new sterile insect program particularly with respect to the Q-fly or fruit-fly.

“South Australia and Tasmania vehemently protect their fruit-fly free status, as an infestation of fruit-fly could decimate the States’ agricultural economy and undermine backyard gardening, said Prof Shepard.

“Plus, being fruit-fly free is essential for fruit growers exporting to high-value markets, such as the USA during its winter.

Dr Don Shepard hands out notes during his class lecture

“Globally insect sterilization programs have successfully reduced the spread of disease – without the use of chemicals - and I’m excited to be collaborating where the practice can have an economic benefit,” said Prof Shepard.

Professor Shepard has conducted many studies in health economics in the US, Australia, and globally. He was one of the developers of quality-adjusted life year (QALY), which has become an important tool for quantifying the impact and value for money of drugs, medical procedures, and health programs.

He is Professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at the Heller School, Brandeis University and Director of the Institutes' group on cost and value. He is the author of 3 books some 200 professional publications and a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Carnegie Mellon University and Flinders University entered into a joint 5-year agreement to support Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy.

Each year, Flinders and CMU-A, in partnership with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, invite a leading scholar from the United States to occupy the Chair in Applied Public Policy