Ana is currently completing her PhD candidature at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, under the supervision of Professor Harvey Whiteford. Ana’s research involves developing a decision analytic modelling tool to estimate the long-term impacts of obesity policies in Australia.

Tell me about yourself and your background, how did you find out about the opportunity to pursue your research career through QCMHR?

I am from Colombia and I am an Economist, with a Masters in Health Economics. I am currently completing my PhD in decision analytic modelling, specifically in the economic evaluation of obesity interventions. As part of my PhD, I have developed a model to obtain the long-term benefits and costs from obesity interventions in the Australian population. My model utilises Global Burden of Disease (GBD) methods and data. I have and continue to really enjoy working with GBD data, so when a part time job with the GBD team became available, without a doubt I applied for the job. I joined the PEABOD team two years ago and since then I have been working on the GBD project.

What does your research look at and what inspired you to pursue this project in particular?

My research looks at the economic evaluation of targeted interventions to reduce the burden of obesity in the Australian population. Incorporating the GBD data in my research allows for the quantification of how an intervention will modify the burden of obesity and the overall health of the study population (Australian population). My research looks to promote effective interventions and as a result it uses a similar methodology to GBD methods to estimate the epidemiology of diseases. In an environment where decision makers face the ever-pressing issue of limited funds I seek to provide factual information that hopefully, will help maximising health benefits among the population. I would say that in addition to identifying cost-effective interventions, my research highlights the importance of selecting and using quality data to inform and aid decision making.

Where to from here, what are your plans for your future as a researcher?

Later this year I will be submitting my PhD thesis for examination. I will then focus to expand my work with PEABPOD as a permanent member of the team.