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Rowena Jacobs
Professor

Profile

Biography

Rowena Jacobs is Professor of Health Economics in the Health Policy Team in the Centre for Health Economics. She has a PhD in Economics from the University of York (2002) and an MCom Degree in Economics (cum laude) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (1997).

Rowena has expertise in the economics of mental health and mental health policy. She has interests in the linkage and use of large and complex datasets and the application of advanced statistical methods to interrogate big data and inform mental health policy. Her research areas include the evaluation of mental health policy reforms, incentives and performance measurement of mental health services. She has undertaken various research projects on funding and contracting approaches for mental health services. She also has interests in the area of physical and mental illness multimorbidity. She leads several multi-disciplinary multi-centre programmes of research and has raised research income from major funders including the Department of Health, NIHR, MRC, ESRC, UKRI and the Health Foundation. 

She is active in disseminating her research to a wide range of audiences, including the NHS, policymakers and international bodies. Her research has won several awards e.g. the Willard Manning Award in Mental Health Policy and Economics Research (2019). She has acted as an adviser to various UK government and other agencies, as well as the World Bank, WHO and OECD. 

Her work has had an impact, for example being used by policymakers in the NHS in the design and use of classification systems to account for activity in mental health services (2015-2017). She has also advised various policymakers on the design of mental health payment systems in Ireland (2018), Australia (2019), France (2019), the Netherlands (2020) and Peru (2020). She has major national collaborations across the UK as well as internationally, including in low and middle-income countries in South-East Asia and Africa. 

She is Deputy Director of the Health Policy Team in CHE, chair of the Equality and Diversity Action Team (EDAT) in CHE and Departmental Equality Champion. She also leads on patient and public involvement (PPI) in research in CHE and the University.

Media

  • BBC Radio 4's File on 4 programme 'Minding the Gap: Mental Healthcare' which explored how mental health care was likely to be funded in the future. Listen here from 31:17 (2015)
  • Interview with NIHR on linking complex datasets to identify ways to improve patient care (2017)
  • YouTube video on NIHR study on primary care quality for people with severe mental ill health (2020)
  • On The Sofa’ interview in response to the launch of Public Health England indicators on mortality of adults with severe mental illness as Big data theme lead for Closing The Gap (CTG) Network (2020)
  • YorkTalks ‘Smart data analysis helps understand the role of GP care for people with severe mental illness’ (2021) 

Research

Overview

  • mental health policy reforms, incentives and performance measurement
  • funding and contracting approaches for mental health services
  • economic impact of mental health and labour market effects
  • socio-economic determinants of mental health
  • mental health and multimorbidity

Research group(s)

Supervision

Current and recently completed PhD students:

  • Reichert, A. ‘Waiting times in mental health care services in England’ (Supervisor)
  • Bosanquet, K. ‘Meeting the physical health care needs of people with serious mental illness in primary care’ (TAP Member)
  • Maddison, P. ‘Productivity and workforce characteristics of mental health services’ (TAP Member)
  • Song, W. ‘The impact of physical health shocks on the consumption of healthcare resources for the treatment of depression,’ (Joint supervisor)

I would be interested in supervising students on the topic areas listed above.

Teaching

Postgraduate

Other 

External activities

Memberships

Recent advisory roles 

  • NHS England, on mental health payment models (2016-2017)
  • Mental Health Reform Ireland and the Health Service Executive Ireland, on increased funding levels for mental health in Ireland (2018)
  • NHS England, on financial incentives in mental health services (2018)
  • NHS England, on mental health contract design for secure adult services (2018)
  • French Ministry of Health, on financing of mental health services in France (2019)
  • Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry, on funding of mental health care, Melbourne, Australia (2019)
  • Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, Melbourne, Australia (2019)
  • NHS England, on physical health checks for people with serious mental illness (2019)
  • Dutch government, on mental health financing (2020)
  • Vice-Minister of Treasury of the Economics Ministry, as well as advisers from the Health Ministry of Peru, and the General Director of Mental Health, on mental health financing in Peru (2020)
  • Cabinet Office, on composite performance measures in public services (2020)

Recent invited talks and conferences 

  • ‘The Economics of Mental Health and Mental Health Care’, Workshop on the Economics of Mental Health Policy, Rome, Italy, 2018. Invited presentation.
  • ‘Does better quality primary care reduce total costs of primary, community and secondary health care for patients with serious mental illness?’, European Health Economics Association Conference, EuHEA, Maastricht, Netherlands, 2018.
  • ‘The organisation and funding of mental health services’, Essen Economics of Mental Health Workshop, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Invited keynote.
  • ‘The organisation and funding of mental health services’, International Health Conference, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, Invited keynote.
  • ‘The cost and quality of mental healthcare provision and the value of service quality in the English NHS’, Workshop on the Economics of Mental Wellbeing, Monash University, Australia, Invited presentation.
  • ‘Mental health funding, policy and research in England: The economist’s perspective’, Workshop on Mental Health Economics, Prague, 2019. Invited presentation.
  • ‘The cost and quality of mental healthcare provision and the value of service quality in the English NHS’, Centre for Health Policy Seminar, University of Melbourne, Australia, Invited presentation.
  • ‘Funding for mental health services in England’, Executive Roundtable on mental health with Macquarie University Centre for Health Economy (MUCHE)), 2019. Invited presentation.
  • ‘The cost and quality of mental healthcare provision and the value of service quality in the English NHS’, Macquarie University seminar, Australia, 2019. Invited presentation.
  • ‘Primary care quality and healthcare utilisation, cost and outcomes for people with serious mental illness’, CPRD Observational Research Team Journal Club, 2020. Invited presentation.
  • ‘Funding for mental health services in England’ Peruvian Ministry of Health and Peruvian Economics Ministry, 2020. Invited presentation.
Staff Photo for Rowena Jacobs

Contact details

Rowena Jacobs
Professor
Centre for Health Economics