Health and well-being

“There is unprecedented demand for multi-disciplinary work in the field of health and well-being, which combines medicine, both physical and mental, as well as health management and psychological aspects of the social sciences. Our work in this domain is inspired by the notion of co-creation of policy frameworks and public-policy debates, on the basis of solid empirical research.” Professor Robert MacCulloch and Associate Professor Laszlo Sajtos

Current research projects

This research aims to explore organisational and individual-level sustainability practices across a number of areas, including water use, carbon footprint (travel), waste management. What sustainability practices are present/absent at the ADHB? What organisational and individual (staff) values support these sustainability practices? Do health and safety responsibilities of the ADHB align or interfere with sustainability practices?

Restructuring of DHBs into HNZ
This research aims to explore the implications of disestablishing the DHBs and replacing them with a single organisation from the perspective of different stakeholders (management, doctors, nurses, patients, community (Māori-Pākehā)). How do stakeholders’ views differ/change between before and after the change? What are the implications of this restructuring in terms of resources, capacity, competition? How does the restructuring will affect primary and secondary care and the tension between them? How does the restructuring will affect the various roles of (funding, provision, etc.) of organisations?

Auckland hospital branding

This research aims to explore the meaning of, and identity associated with hospitals among its stakeholders, and providing pathways for effective branding for hospitals. What is the identity and meaning of hospitals among its stakeholders (staff, patients, community)? How hospitals compare with each other? Why certain hospitals (Starship, Greenlane) are more effective in creating a successful brand image compared to others?


Research Ideas Worth Funding

Date: Thursday, 28 October 2021, 10am-12pm

Venue: The Comfort of your Own Space - Zoom webinar

The zoom link will be provided to all registrants ahead of the event.

The event consists of four-minute presentations by leading researchers across
disciplines of the University of Auckland Faculties of Medical and Health Sciences (FMHS), the Faculty of Arts COMPASS Research Centre, and Business and Economics.

Register for the event

John Parsons, FMHS Nursing Past and present collaborations with the Business School and potential future opportunities
Amy Chan
FMHS, Pharmacy
Digital health, behaviour change and working with big data
Barry Milne, Arts COMPASS Impact of chronic health conditions on families across the life-course
Claris Chung, FMHS Population Health & David Sundaram, Business School Information Systems & Operations Management SHARP approach towards developing health and wellness systems
Cynthia Wensley
FMHS, Nursing
Development of a multi-dimensional instrument for measuring patient comfort in acute care settings
Hakkan Lai, FMHS Population Health Research opportunities with the largest contemporary cohort study in Aotearoa
Jennifer Weller, FMHS Medicine NetworkZ: a national, simulation-based multidisciplinary in-situ team training programme for healthcare teams in Aotearoa
Jo Barnes
FMHS, Pharmacy
Consumer use, access and behaviour relating to herbal and traditional medicines and other 'natural health products'/'complementary medicines'/dietary
Julie Harrison
Business School, Accounting and Finance
The development of casemix in HBSS (home-based support services)
Karen Day
FMHS, Population Health
Workplace wellbeing 'It's your channel': An exploratory action resesarch study in the emergency department setting
Laszlo Sajtos
Business School, Marketing
Overcoming barriers to technology use in health care
Natalie Walker
FMHS, Population Health
Dangerous consumptions - a dollar each way: A perfect partnership between public health, business and marketing
Nataly Martini
FMHS, Pharmacy
The use of technology in medication management and how it affects the way patients and health professionals engage with healthcare
Paul Rouse, Business School Accounting & Finance A multi-level performance framework application to hospitals
Robert MacCulloch
Business School, Economics
Well-being economics
Rosemary Frey, FMHS Nursing Lecturers' and students' reflections on the use of Zoom VCT in the wake of Covid-19
Shane Scahill
FMHS, Pharmacy
Organisational/management theory applied to the pharmacy practice context
Tava Olsen
Business School, Information Systems and Operations Management
Emergency Department models, metrics, and incentives
Vanessa Burholt
FMHS, Nursing
Ideas for collaboration that fit under the umbrella of a Centre for Co-created Ageing Research

If you have any questions, please email Business School Special Research Projects Manager Christiane Rupp.


Several researchers from various departments in the Business School have indicated their willingness to pursue cross-disciplinary funding opportunities in health-related topics. Below is a list of potential collaborators (presented in alphabetical order) and their areas of expertise in alphabetical order of surname:

Emeritus Professor Peter Davis
Research interests and experience: Sociology of health including health inequalities, public policy (including health policy and health services research), and research methodology, especially indicator development, statistical techniques, and survey practice.
As well as an Emeritus Professor in Population Health and Social Science Peter is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Statistics at The University of Auckland. As a result of completing a two-year James Cook Fellowship funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2017, Peter co-authored with Roy Lay-Yee a monograph ‘Simulating Societal Change: Counterfactual Modelling for Social and Policy Inquiry’ published by Springer (2019). Peter was founding director of the COMPASS (Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences) Research Centre and held cross-appointments in the Department of Statistics and in the School of Population Health from the time of his appointment as Professor of the Sociology of Health and Well-being in 2004 until his retirement in 2017. Peter has a Google Scholar (GS) H score of 44, and his GS list of publications can be found here.

Dr Xiuming (Audrey) Dong, Department of Economics
Research interest: Health economics and risky behaviour
Audrey’s research focuses on the impact of healthcare policies on individual’s health and labour market outcomes (such as wages and employment). She will also be teaching Health Economics at the Business School starting at 2021. Her recent research paper studies the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on workplace injuries. Other areas she is particularly interested in are (a) evaluating healthcare programs; (b) important role of mental health; and (c) understanding the barriers to health service access and quality of care.

Associate Professor Karen Fernandez, Department of Marketing
Research interest: Customer experience and culture
Karen’s healthcare interests centre around issues of human agency, in particular, how human agency is impacted by culture and technological innovation (e.g. artificial intelligence). She supervises two PhD students working in smart technology and has published a paper on Technology Consumption in the A* European Journal of Marketing and a paper on human vs object agency in Research in Consumer Behaviour. She works within both qualitative and experimental design paradigms. She has extensive personal contacts in the Far North including kaumātua and a Māori nurse (all Ngāti Kahu) who could assist with recruiting difficult to reach participants there.

Associate Professor Julie Harrison, Department of Accounting and Finance
Research interest: Revenue and cost management
Julie’s research focuses on developing new performance measurement and costing systems to assist with the management and funding of healthcare, for example, developing case-mix systems for primary care settings. She has been involved in a series of projects that have developed case-mix management systems for use in the primary care sector in New Zealand. Her research for a large District Health Board (DHB) has resulted in a continuing relationship related to the development of case-mix for home-based support services. This research has also resulted in publications in leading international journals, including Health & Social Care in the Community, Australasian Marketing Journal, Journal of Medical Systems, and Journal of Service Management.

Dr Joya Kemper, Department of Marketing
Research interest: Individual and organisational sustainability practices
Joya’s research interest is in sustainable practices and explores topics such as plastic usage, sustainable food, food waste and by-waste products. She has a keen interest in understanding everyday entrenched unsustainable social practices and how change can come about through individual, organisational and institutional change. In this case, she explores how behaviour change can be enacted through communications and education, eliminating environmental barriers and through other initiatives and interventions.

Professor Robert MacCulloch, Department of Economics
Research interest: Health economics and well-being
Robert works at the juncture of economics and psychology. His research asks questions like: How does unemployment affect well-being? How does inequality affect well-being? How does the welfare state affect well-being? To provide answers, Robert uses large global data sets that survey millions of people about their emotional well-being. He is one of the highest ranked economists working in this field in the world and is our country's leading expert in the field of well-being economics. Robert has also published proposals on how to redesign our healthcare system to better cope with the pressures arising from the aging population.

Professor Tava Olsen, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Research interest: Health metrics and incentives
Tava’s healthcare interests centre around metrics and incentives and Emergency Department flows. She has two current PhD students working in this area. Most of her work in this area is modelling based (both stochastic models and game-theoretic models) and her paper “Review of Modelling Approaches for Emergency Department Patient Flow and Crowding Research,” (with J. Wiler and R. Griffey), Academic Emergency Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 12, December 2011, 1371 - 1379 is a good overview of her interests.

Professor Ilan Oshri, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Research interest: Robotics and digital technologies
Ilan’s research focuses on robotic process automation as well as digital sourcing and their implications for health care. He also implemented a system of non-intrusive sensors (supported by AI) to protect elderly communities from direct contact with people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Valery Pavlov, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Research interest: Health metrics
Valery’s current active research in healthcare concerns the efficacy and efficiency of the model of care for acute geriatric patients. He is the main supervisor of a PhD student, Abtin Maghsoodi, who is working on this topic, and he is jointly supervising with Prof Paul Rouse, A/Prof Cameron Walker and Prof Matthew Parsons (advisor). Other areas he is particularly interested in are (a) understanding and making use of the behavioural factors to improve the patient journey, (b) developing and implementing a digital twin of a hospital, (c) incentive-compatibility of healthcare policies.

Professor Paul Rouse, Department of Accounting and Finance
Research interest: Performance evaluation and measurement
Paul’s healthcare interests centre around case mix, performance and productivity, economic evaluations and cost systems. He has supervised ten doctoral students in Health Sciences five completed, five current) and one in Business researching in health. He also has one MCom student currently researching the impact of COVID-19 on outpatient processes during lockdown at Waitemata DHB. Within FMHS he has worked with Elizabeth Broadbent, Bruce McDonald, Tim Kenealy, Matthew and John Parsons, Des Gorman and Brian McKenna on numerous projects, as well as others within health organisations: Peter Sandiford Waitemata DHB, Stuart Powell MoH, Ajit Arulambalam and Denis Jury ADHB. Projects have included the National Pricing Framework with the HFA, tertiary secondary hospital distinctions MoH, MSD funded health intervention Oranga Mahi, case-mix for home care ADHB, district nursing CDHB and non-acute rehabilitation for ACC, cost of motor cycle accidents 20 October, 2020 Waikato DHB, evaluation of a new prison model of mental health care in prisons Mason Clinic.

Associate Professor Laszlo Sajtos, Department of Marketing
Research interest: Digital technologies and customer relationship management
Laszlo’s current research focuses on the impact of digital platforms and technologies on the relationships between people and organizations. He has a number of ongoing projects that focus on the role of digital employees in organizational settings and algorithmic decision making in healthcare (with Dr Stephen Ritchie, FMHS). He has been involved (with Prof Paul Rouse and A/Prof Julie Harrison and Prof Matthew Parsons and A/Prof John Parsons) in projects that have developed case-mix management systems for use in the primary care sector in New Zealand.

Professor David Sundaram, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Research interest: Adaptive systems and sustainability
David’s research focuses on self-care via the use of broader social networks and seamless integration of applications with lifestyle activities, particularly for people with chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory conditions. Furthermore, his research aims to connecting different components of the health system and delivering services through smartphones and connected devices, systems development in healthcare (SHARP: Sustainable, Holistic, Adaptive, Real-time and Precise).

Contact us

For queries or information on the Business School Health and Well-being Research Beacon, please contact its Co-Leaders:

Prof Robert MacCulloch or Assoc Prof Laszlo Sajtos

Thank you!