Rachel Baker


Universities & Institutions

  • Glasgow Caledonian University

Areas of Interest

  • Public Health
  • Health economics

Rachel Baker is Professor of Health Economics in the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University. She has a BA in Economics and Social Policy and a PhD from Newcastle University.

Her research focusses on the use of mixed methods to: i) elicit societal values with respect to resource allocation for health and ii) study the benefits arising from policies, programmes or interventions, especially complex social programmes or organisations that impact on health and wellbeing.

Given a fixed budget governments and health systems face difficult choices about which services and treatments to provide and which will not be funded. Measurement of costs and benefits of is crucial to such decisions but there are also implications for the distribution of resources across members of society, and so-called efficient choices may not always be regarded as equitable. Rachel’s work investigates how society values different uses of public resources and how community based organisations generate impact for participants. Rachel has expertise in the use of health economic approaches to valuation and preference elicitation including Willingness to Pay, Standard Gamble and Person Trade off techniques. She is an expert in Q methodology and Q based survey methods.

In her doctoral work, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Rachel applied Q methodology and qualitative methods to economic theories of rationality in the context of health and lifestyle choices. Her Post Doctoral Fellowship was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and included 3 months as a visiting researcher at the University of Calgary, Canada. Rachel used Q methodology to investigate societal perspectives about the principles underlying health care resource allocation as part of national and international research projects investigating the social value of quality-adjusted life years, led by Professor Cam Donaldson (UK Social Value of a QALY and EuroVaQ)..

In collaboration with colleagues at GCU, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Rachel led a 3 year research project funded by the Medical Research Council (2011-2014) to investigate societal perspectives on the relative value of life-extending treatments for people with terminal illnesses. This builds on work developing Q survey methods to investigate the distribution of views identified in large respondent samples. Rachel has been involved, as co-investigator, in a study of QALY weights and end of life (EQWEL), in work on microfinance and health (FinWell), and on social enterprise and health (CommonHealth).

Rachel chairs the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for Ethics and Society (early career awards) and, from 2012-2016 served on the Health Improvement, Protection and Services Research Advisory Committee for the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office. She is Past President of the International Q methodology Society.

Rachel supervises PhD studies in health economics and social values, social determinants of health particularly the health and wellbeing impacts of community based organisations such as social enterprises and microfinance initiatives, economic valuation of benefits, preference elicitation and Q methodology.


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