Mario Martínez-Jiménez, SPHR PhD student in Health Economics at LiLaC (Lancaster University) talks to us about his research grant for the ‘most important research’ awarded by the Spanish Health Economics Association (AES). This €10,000 research grant is an important recognition of his PhD project and a great support for his future career prospects. These annual research grants are awarded to projects with relevant research questions that may impact Spanish society and beyond. He has been awarded this prize with his third PhD chapter titled “Inequalities in health and health care during adolescence”. Details of the award are available here. The research is funded by the NIHR School of Public Health Research (SPHR) and Liverpool and Lancaster Collaboration for Public Health Research (LiLaC).
What are your main research interests?
Broadly, my research focuses on the impact of economic shocks (e.g. unemployment, drop in income) on health and health inequalities. In particular, my first PhD paper explores the effects of retirement on both physical and mental ill-health and whether these change in the presence of economic shocks. In my second PhD paper, I focus on the impact of parental unemployment spells during their children’s early (0-5 years), mid- (6-10 years) and late- (11-15 years) childhood on the child’s consequent mental and physical health when they become young adults (18-33 years). Thus, this awarded project will become my third PhD article, in which I aim to analyse inequalities in health and healthcare among adolescents.
Can you tell me more about your awarded project?
The overarching aim of this project is to explore the dynamics of socioeconomic inequalities in health and health care among adolescents. Specifically, this research will examine the evolution of health-inequalities among adolescents using rich longitudinal data and whether the Great Recession influenced inequalities. I will employ merged data from the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) and Next Steps. Overall, this project will identify the key factors driving current trends of health-inequalities among adolescents and the role played by economic shocks.
What impact will this research have?
The evidence produced by this project around the relationship between health-inequalities and economic shocks will help policymakers to design new and more targeted policies aimed at reducing socioeconomic disparities at a critical stage of an individual’s life. Due to the COVID-19 crisis there is growing concern around the long-term consequences of the on-going pandemic and lockdown on the health of young individuals and children in severely affected countries such as the UK. Hence, the evidence produced by this project aims at shifting the attention of stakeholders and policy makers towards adolescent health.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying to this type of grants/awards?
I would encourage everyone to apply for these research grants /awards. As early-career researchers, we don’t have an extensive CV, and the probabilities of being granted are low; however, don’t be afraid to give it a try – it is a really nice recognition of your work.