The doctor shortage, health care budgets and the number of different types of health professionals needed in the province of Ontario are examples of the issues McMaster’s new Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources will tackle.
Arthur Sweetman has been named the inaugural holder of the new position funded by an endowment from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as part of the province’s health human resources strategy - Health Force Ontario. Sweetman will join the University July 1.
CHEPA member Jeremiah Hurley was instrumental in efforts to establish the new chair. He led the development of the proposal for McMaster to host the chair, which was awarded to the University by the Council of Ontario Universities through the Ontario Research Chairs program.
“Ontario is being very innovative by, among other things, introducing new categories and roles for health professions, including physician assistants, dietitians, midwives, respiratory therapists, and physiotherapists,” says Sweetman. “But the province faces challenges because of its sheer size and the rate of growth of the health care budget. This chair will be able to address some of the most pressing public policy issues facing us today.”
A native of Montreal, Sweetman was most recently director of the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. He also has early ties to Hamilton, having worked at Stelco before pursuing his PhD in economics at McMaster.
“I’m thrilled that Arthur Sweetman has agreed to come on board to develop the evidence that will help us improve health human resources planning and strengthen patient care across this province,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
It’s not surprising McMaster was selected to develop a centre of excellence in health human resources research and modelling, said Charlotte Yates, dean of Social Sciences.
“There exists at McMaster a large and dedicated group of health policy and labour economics researchers. This chair joins a hub of expertise in this field and will find many experts with whom Arthur can collaborate,” said Yates.
Bill Scarth, chair of McMaster’s Department of Economics, said that with health care accounting for almost 50 per cent of the province’s budget, “considerable skill is needed to make the system more efficient without hurting patient care during the coming period of deficit reduction. Arthur has the ability to bring policy and rigorous empirical study under one umbrella.”
Sweetman’s research interests focus primarily on empirical economic issues related to labour market, social and health policy. Recent research topics include health policy, education, immigration, poverty, employment insurance, program evaluation and microfinance.