McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster health economists ranked among most influential

Published: November 21, 2011
Amiram Gafni
Amiram Gafni, Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Stephen Birch
Stephen Birch, Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Five current and former faculty members of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics have been ranked among the most influential health economists in the world in a report prepared for the World Bank.

Stephen Birch and Amiram Gafni, both professors of the department, and the late Bernie O’Brien, a professor of the department who died in 2004, are included in the top 100 health economists in the world, based on a measure of health economics publications and the number of times they have been cited. Birch and Gafni were tied for 35th on the list with several others, and O’Brien was tied for 44th.

Two former professors for the department, Gordon Torrance and David Feeny, were also listed in the rankings included in the report. All five professors are, or have been, members of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA) at McMaster.

McMaster University ranked 22nd among the world’s top 100 institutions in health economics, based on citations. Canada ranked third in health economics, following the United States and the United Kingdom.

The rankings were compiled as part of a working paper produced by the Human Development and Public Services Team, Development Research Group, of the World Bank. Authors Adam Wagstaff and Anthony J. Culyer looked at the growth of research in the field of health economics over the past 40 years, reported on the changing topics and geographical focus in the field, and compared authors, countries, institutions and journals in terms of the volume of publications and their influence as measured through various citation-based indices.

The list of top 100 health economists was based on a particular metric, the 'h-index'. The index combines the number of articles published and the number of citations of the most cited articles of an author or an organization.

Based on the report’s criteria, Birch was an author on 30 publications that have been cited more than 1,000 times in the last 40 years. Gafni had 37 publications with nearly 1,200 citations, and O’Brien had 24 publications with more than 1,250 citations.

In the list of the top 300 most-cited publications by topic was Torrance’s 1986 publication entitled Measurement of Health State Utilities for Economic Appraisal: A Review (Journal of Health Economics), and Feeny’s 1995 report Multi-attribute Health Status Classification Systems: Health Utilities Index (PharmacoEconomics).

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