Personal profile


Stephen Birch is part time professor in health economics at MCHE, Director of the Centre for the Business and Economics of Health at the University of Queensland, Australia and emeritus professor at McMaster University, Canada. He previously worked at the Medical Care Research Unit, Sheffield University and the Centre for Health Economics, York University. He has held honorary appointments at universities in Toronto (Canada), Malmo (Sweden), Cape Town (South Africa) and Sydney (Australia). He has a doctorate in economics from York University, a masters degree in fiscal studies from Bath University and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Sheffield University. He has over 300 research publications in a wide range of peer-reviewed scientific journals and has particular interests in the economics of oral health care, needs-based health service and health workforce planning, access to care in underserved populations and needs-based allocation of resources and provider remuneration. He served as Senior Editor for Social Science & Medicine for 15 years and continues to serve on the editorial advisory board. He received the IADR Distinguished Scientist award for lifetime achievements in behavioural, epidemiologic and health services research in oral health in 2019. His research on the economics of water fluoridation is widely cited in policy documents relating to the introduction, restoration and continuation of investments in water fluoridation in many jurisdictions. He has served as a publicly appointed member on Health Professions’ Regulatory Boards, Regional Health Authorities and Community Health Councils. He has held public appointments to expert panels on improving access to care in underserved populations and indigenous populations. He has served on many committees and advisory boards on health workforce and health service planning and evaluation and as consultant to WHO, World Bank and several national and state health ministries.



I have worked as consultant with WHO and the World Bank on integrated approaches to health services, health workforce and finacual planning . I served as Senior Editor for Social Science & Medicine for 15 years and currently serve on the Editorial Board of Health and Social Care in the Community and the Editorial Advisory Board of Social Science & Medicine. I am a past member of the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network, a past council member on Ontario’s Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council, and previously served on the Board of the Hamilton District Health Council and the York District Commmunity Health Council.

Research interests

I have extensive research experience in the evaluation of models for the planning, funding and delivery of health care including the development of needs-based approaches to health care resource allocation, the evaluation of alternative delivery modalities for primary care in Ontario and the analysis of alternate payments for the provision of primary dental care. My main research interests are in economics of health care systems with particular emphasis on equity, resource allocation, alternative delivery models and health human resources planning models. I have over 300 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

International Health Economics Association


  • University of Sheffield, BA(Hons) Economics
  • University of Bath, MSc Fiscal Studies
  • University of York. D.Phil in Economics

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Healthier Futures


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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