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Menzies Centre for Health Policy

Leading independent voice on health policy in Australia
Gathering experts in health policy, economics and health services research to produce high-quality analyses of current issues, deliver public seminars and education programs and undertake comprehensive research projects.

About us

The Menzies Centre for Health Policy conducts health policy research, analysis, advice and education. 

We focus on improving public health outcomes through policy innovation and practical implementation. With a program of community engagement, the Centre encourages informed debate about how Australians can influence health policy to ensure that it is consistent with their values and priorities; policies that are able to deliver safe, high-quality health care that is sustainable in the long term.

The Centre has a particular interest in the policy conundrums posed by the growing challenge of chronic illness. Our research has demonstrated a strong commitment to patient centred outcomes.

Research programs

The Applied Policy Analysis team seeks to bridge the gap between academic research and policymakers' need for clear, non-partisan evidence.  It translates quantitative and qualitative research into policy-relevant material for timely application by policymakers and stakeholders. Comparative effectiveness, quality measurement, health economics, and health services research require complex methodologies, but we communicate results in clear language with graphic presentations to facilitate evidence-based policymaking.

Recent achievements
  • Developed and delivered a commissioned 2-day training module to introduce Commonwealth Department of Health staff to Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in Australia. 
  • Produced and delivered a commissioned report on the evaluation of HealthPathways Sydney during the period September 2016 to September 2018
  • Undertook a systematic review of international frameworks for evaluating the products and processes within HTA programs.

The Health Governance and Financing node, led by Associate Professor James Gillespie and Dr Carmen Huckel Schneider, aims to develop a richer understanding of how health systems and policy are governed and the interactions between politics, policy and evidence in health policy processes. Within this frame, the node undertakes research projects that are aimed at how policy is used to progress health systems and the social and political factors that feed into this process. We undertake research into:

  • health system change
  • the influence of political processes on the health policy and the health of populations
  • policy networks and location and role of power in health policy
  • agenda setting, prioritisation and governance in national, regional and global health policy
  • ideas, norms, and institutions in health policy.
Recent achievements
  • Reviewed intentional and operational models of Integrated Care services in NSW.
  • Developed a model for analysing operational models of global health organisations.
  • Reviewed how Integrated Care services adapt to changing policy contexts in NSW.
  • Examined new forms of care integration and coordination within mental health.
  • Developed new models of primary care funding and service organisation.
  • Beyond Health Security examined the changing languages of ‘security’ in global health policy and the meaning of these concepts at country level.
  • Policy networks in global health advanced the limited understanding of how policy is determined in global health.

The Preventive Health Policy team look at social, economic and environmental factors and how each of these interacts to achieve sustained prevention of complex chronic health problems. They work collaboratively with public health practice and practitioners to inform prevention research, policy and practice. A number of researchers in this team are working on projects with the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, of which Professor Andrew Wilson is Director.

Recent achievements
  • Funded by one of the first disbursements of the Medical Research Future Fund under its Boosting Prevention program, a new project is seeking to find effective, sustainable models that can be implemented in primary care to identify patients at risk of developing chronic, disabling pain or those whose pain is not being managed appropriately.
  • Professor Penny Hawe featured in a series of podcasts aiming to create a better understanding of population health science on The Wholesome Show
  • Professor Andrew Wilson provided evidence to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia.  

The Public Policy and Health theme is led by Dr Patrick Harris and Dr Anne Marie Thow. This research theme focusses on understanding:

  • how and why health is considered in public policy decisions across policy sectors
  • facilitators and barriers to adoption and implementation of best practice multisectoral policies to improve health and health equity
  • how policies to promote health across sectors can be strategically designed
  • the political economy of health policy, with a focus on policy processes and institutions.

Researchers in this theme prioritise active engagement with policymakers to promote policy supportive of population health and wellbeing, through collaborations in Australia and internationally. 

Our ongoing programs of work include focus areas on urban planning, nutrition policy analysis and industry-oriented nutrition interventions.

Recent achievements
  • Dr Anne Marie Thow has been invited to membership of the WHO's new nutrition policy subgroup of the Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group.   
  • Dr Patrick Harris has been involved with some significant moments of policy impact recently, based on his research.  Patrick was advisor to the successful original court case launched against the Rocky Hill Coalmine in the Gloucester Valley, the appeal against which was recently unsuccessful in the Land and Environment Court. The case was dubbed ‘once in a generation’ by the NSW Environmental Defenders Office. See and associated media stories.

    Patrick also acted as an expert witness to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry on the Impact of Westconnex, resulting in a recommendation that ‘The NSW Government mandate the completion of a public health impact analysis as part of the wider economic analysis undertaken for future large scale infrastructure projects’. Download the inquiry’s final report (pdf, 3.5MB).
  • Dr Helen Trevena continued her work with colleagues in the NSW Centre for Population Health to include the development of an evaluation framework and coordination of the evaluation for the Healthy Food and Drink in NSW Health facilities for Staff and Visitors Framework. 

The Value in Health Care Division directed by Professor Adam Elshaug aims to create a sustainable cross-disciplinary research and policy translation environment with the goals of delivering value-based healthcare solutions, underpinned by the analysis of health data.

It is a portal through which key questions of most relevance to end-user partners are asked of data, existing and new. Specifically, we address key issues related to the judicious use of healthcare services, the consequences of high and low-value care including resource use and costs and relative cost-effectiveness of health care services, and the development and testing of real-world remedies to the problem of low-value care. We centrally embed and integrate staff and students, ideas, analyses and data to participate in and influence the polity of healthcare. 

The Value in Health Care Division’s approach holds dual strengths, first in answering the most pertinent clinical, economic, epidemiological or health service questions of existing data and the acquisition of new data stores. Second, by value adding through mapping where existing data infrastructure falls short of providing needed answers. This spurs a cyclical learning data environment, where program staff and students, our clinical, policy and industry partners, and data custodians work iteratively to fill data black holes, subsequently strengthening the infrastructure for more and more robust research and policy translation applications.

Recent achievements
  • Completed a major stage in a coordinated low-value care measurement program of work, with the prevalence, costs and distribution of low-value care measured for 3 Australian state health systems plus private health insurers representing almost 70 percent of privately insured Australians. Learn more
  • Working with an international team to write a book chapter on ‘wasted buys’ in non-communicable disease prevention programs. What is a wasted buy, and how can governments avoid them?
  • Designing and implementing behavioural ‘nudges’ to drive clinicians away from low-value care. Learn more
  • Co-led the Lancet Right Care series of papers, exploring the prevalence of low-value care, its drivers and remedies. 

Study options

The study of health policy offers a critical perspective on how health systems operate and the forces that shape the health and society more broadly. It emphasises the importance of power and value choices, focusing on the interaction of governments with the private and community sectors in shaping policy.

Why study health policy with us?
  • Study with Sydney School of Public Health, a global leader in research and education.
  • Learn how to develop and implement health policy.
  • Analyse current health policies and policy processes.
  • Learn about how the Australian and international healthcare systems work.
  • Develop applied skills in policy analysis, economic evaluation, health financing and budgets.
  • Understand emerging issues from international trends.
  • Identify and analyse politics and power in health policy.
  • Gain key skills in systems thinking and critical appraisal of evidence for health policy.
  • Graduate with professional confidence to work in leadership and strategy across the health sector.
Course options
Scholarship options

Two scholarships are available for the Masters of Health Policy at the University of Sydney. The Stephen Leeder Health Policy Scholarship and the Ruth Colagiuri Health Policy Scholarship will be valued at $10,000 and will be tenable for one full-time semester only. 

Visit our scholarships website to learn more.

For further information on these courses please contact:

Degrees by research are available across all the research areas of the Sydney School of Public Health and the Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Research options include:

Learn more current research opportunities or about postgraduate research in medicine and health.

Event series

The Menzies Centre for Health Policy and colleagues deliver regular seminars that address contemporary health policy issues.

Please join our mailing list to receive notifications when the next seminar is scheduled.

Visit the Sydney eScholarship Repository for recordings and resources from past seminars.

The Emerging Health Policy Research Conference showcases emerging health policy research of academic researchers, health policy professionals and higher degree research students.  Participation in the Emerging Health Policy Research Conference provides an opportunity to:

  • discuss health policy responses to current local, national and global health challenges
  • present in progress health policy research to a wide audience of students, academics and practitioners
  • discuss new ideas and identify opportunities for collaboration across disciplinary boundaries

Please join our mailing list to receive notifications when the next Conference is scheduled.

Visit the Sydney eScholarship Repository for recordings and resources from past conferences.

The University of Sydney, by way of a gift, established the S.T. Lee Lecture Fund in 2008 to invite a distinguished scholar and/or practitioner on the subject of contemporary health policy to deliver an annual lecture. The S.T. Lee Lecture is named for Seng Tee Lee, a business executive and noted philanthropist. Dr Lee is director of the Lee group of companies in Singapore and of the Lee Foundation.

Please join our mailing list to receive notifications when the next S T Lee Lecture is scheduled.

Visit the Sydney eScholarship Repository for recordings and resources from past conferences.

Our people


Professor Andrew Wilson
Professor Andrew Wilson
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Contact us

  • Charles Perkins Centre (D17), The University of Sydney NSW 2006