As most of us do when we get older, I started to have more personal experiences of cancer among friends and family. In the early 2000s, the BC Cancer Agency contacted me through a friend and colleague at the University of British Columbia about an opportunity to develop a health economics research program focusing on cancer control (something I was trying to develop in Australia at the time). I made a couple of trips to Vancouver and was impressed with the vision that the Agency had, both in terms of developing a health economics program, but also in terms of having a very strong population-based cancer control focus. In the summer of 2005 I moved to Vancouver and have been here ever since.
I am very passionate about the health system doing the very best it can for all British Columbians and indeed all Canadians. This means thinking not about one part of science, or one patient with one type of cancer, but about how we do the best for the health of the whole community. It means thinking at the population level.
Every economist will tell you resources are scarce and we cannot do everything we want with our health dollars. I want to work with the community to address this challenge. The cancer control system and the wider health system belong to the community, not the people who work for it – it's really important that decisions are systematic, transparent, fair and evidence-based. That is only going to become more important as the incidence of cancer rises (because the population is aging) and the cost of cancer drugs rises at the same time. Creating a more sustainable cancer control system based on what the community needs is what keeps me going.
Thanks for reading and please check back soon for a discussion of my role here at the Agency.