Researcher

Dr Ben Harris-Roxas

My Expertise

I’m a health services researcher, impact assessor and evaluator with over 20 years of experience in Australia and overseas. I'm an expert on ways that health care in the community can be more integrated for people from culturally diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities, and carers. I'm also an internationally recognised expert in health impact assessment, which is used to assess the health impacts of projects and policies before they're implemented

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Primary health care, Health services and systems, Public health, Social determinants of health, Service design

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Biography

I am a health services researcher with more than twenty years of experience. I'm passionate about strengthening health organisations and care systems to meet the needs of culturally diverse groups, people with disabilities, and carers.

I've worked for universities, government and as a consultant. I trained in social work and social research, and received my PhD from UNSW Sydney on the use of equity focused health impact assessment in health...view more

I am a health services researcher with more than twenty years of experience. I'm passionate about strengthening health organisations and care systems to meet the needs of culturally diverse groups, people with disabilities, and carers.

I've worked for universities, government and as a consultant. I trained in social work and social research, and received my PhD from UNSW Sydney on the use of equity focused health impact assessment in health service planning.

I've worked for the School of Population Health in a combined teaching and research role since 2021. I've been an investigator on research projects worth more than 16 million dollars, published more than 90 articles and book chapters. I convene courses with over 400 postgraduate students enrolled each year and I lead the dual master degree program in public health and health leadership and management. I was previously Director of a joint evaluation and research collaboration between the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and UNSW Sydney.

I was previously chair of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education's Global Working Group on health impact assessment, and chair of the International Association for Impact Assessment’s Health Section. I've consulted for the World Health Organization on health impact assessment and intersectoral action for health.


My Grants

Career research income
Total research funding $16.947 million
Category 1 Competitive peer-reviewed research funding programs $5.788 million
Category 2 Australian government funding $9.073 million
Category 3 International and industry funding $2.085 million

Grants in past five years

  1. Barr, M., Kidd, M., Harris, M., Harris-Roxas, B., Rhee, J., Sharma, A., Sitas, F., El Haddad, N., Kearns, R., van Kemenade, C., Sunjaya, A., Burns, M., & Marshall, K. (2023). Review of general practice incentives: International evidence and literature review (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care).
  2. Dawes, P., Scarinci, N., Newall, J., Ching, T., Armitage, C., Waite, C., Orlando, M., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2023). Improving access to the hearing services program for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (NHMRC 2021 Hearing Health Evidence Based Support Services).
  3. Ford, J., Vohra, S., Purdy, J., Walton, H., Ekermawi, R., O’Mullane, M., Birley, M., Douglas, M., Stevenson, A., Haigh, F., Harris-Roxas, B., Green, L., Black, D., Cave, B., Holroyd, I., & Lynch, H. (2023). Health Impact Assessments – current state of play and future direction [Grant FR-0004051] (The Health Foundation England).
  4. O’Mullane, M., Smith, K., Archibong, U., McHugh, S., Mullally, G., Purdy, J., Pursell, L., Harris-Roxas, B., Kelly, I., Kavanagh, P., Daly, H., O’Mahony, T., Green, L., Ward, J., Burke, S., Connolly, B., & Cave, B. (2023). Development of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Implementation Model: Enhancing Intersectoral Approaches in Tackling Health Inequalities (Irish Health Research Board).
  5. Seale, H., Harris-Roxas, B., Goddard, C., Smith, M., Heinrichs, D., Bromhead, H., Macnamara, J., & Blazek, K. (2023). Community driven communication and engagement during health crisis periods: Co-designing enhanced and transferable strategies (NHMRC 2022 Ideas Grants).
  6. Harris, M., Barr, M., Harris-Roxas, B., Spooner, C., Li, X., & El Haddad, N. (2022). Joint regional planning and governance: A systematic scoping review of relevant black and grey literature (Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network on behalf of NSW PHNs)
  7. Hwang, Y., Withall, A., Harris-Roxas, B., Butler, T., Snoyman, P., Hampton, S., Elmer, S., & Cheng, C. (2022). "Turning on the HEADLITes”: Towards the first health and digital literacy intervention for older Australians leaving prison (UNSW Ageing Futures Institute 2022 Seed Funding Grant).
  8. O’Dea, B., Li, S., Whitton, A., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2022). While We Wait: Using digital technology to improve care for young people awaiting in-person mental health services (UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme & SPHERE Clinical Academic Group (CAG).
  9. Dadich, A., Harris-Roxas, B., Ní Shé, É., Ní Chroinin, D., Kohler, F., & Boydell, K. (2021). What constitutes a brilliant model of aged care? (Sydney Partnership for Health Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Age and Ageing Clinical Academic Group).
  10. Haigh, F., Harris-Roxas, B., & Kanti Mistry, S. (2021). A rapid literature review to identify equity issues in access and delivery of telehealth interventions (Sydney Local Health District)
  11. Harris, Mark, Aslani, P., Levesque, J.-F., Barr, M., Sharma, A., Harris-Roxas, B., Wright, M., & Osborne, R. (2021). Community Health workers Extending Care in the Community (CHECC) (NHMRC Partnership Project Grants 2021, GNT1196912).
  12. Harris, M., Liaw, W., Chin, M., Knight, A., Harris, C., Goodger, B., Vuong, K., Harris-Roxas, B., & Taggart, J. (2021). Improving the quality of long term cancer survivorship care for colorectal and breast cancers (Avant Foundation)
  13. Harris-Roxas, B., Woodland, L., Freeman, B., McKenzie, R., El Haddad, N., Chan, L., & Sitas, F. (2021). Shisha No Thanks Phase 3: Raising awareness of the harms of waterpipe smoking (Cancer Institute NSW).
  14. McDonald, A., Harris, M., Simpson, A., Bailie, A., Spooner, C., Anderson, K., Cunich, M., Parcsi, L., Harris-Roxas, B., Hutchings, O., & Moore, M. (2021). Enhancing integration with primary care of patients with severe mental illness using a web-based shared care plan and telehealth solution (NSW Health Translational Research Grants Scheme)
  15. O’Dea, B., Li, S., Whitton, A., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2022). While We Wait: Using digital technology to improve care for young people awaiting in-person mental health services (UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme & SPHERE Clinical Academic Group (CAG).
  16. Trollor, J., Hrris, M., Kavanagh, A., Fisher, K., Long, J., Reppermund, S., Harris-Roxas, B., Spooner, C., & Sharma, A. (2021). Developing a model of Preventative Healthcare for People with Intellectual Disability (NHMRC 2020 Partnership Projects PRC2).
  17. El Haddad, N., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2020). Promoting healthy eating and physical activity in young people from Chinese backgrounds—Evaluation (Chinese Australian Social Services (CASS, subcontracted from Australian Government Department of Health)
  18. Gonski, P., Hilman, K., Saunders, C., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2020). Empowering older, frail people to make their own end of life choices (Sydney Partnership for Health Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Age and Ageing Clinical Academic Group).
  19. Harris, M, Taggart, J., Harris-Roxas, B., & Spooner, C. (2020). Integrated Clinical Pathways Project 4: Electronic shared care (Mindgardens Neuroscience Network).
  20. Harris, P., Harris-Roxas, B., Adams, J., Bevan, W., Frawley, J., Freeman, E., Haigh, F., Hua, M., Mazumdar, S., McIntyre, E., Morrison, N., Prior, J., & Pry, J. (2020). Urban Planning and Design for the COVID-19 era: A rapid review for policy and practice (Sydney Partnership for Health Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Healthy Urban Environments Clinical Academic Group).
  21. Harrison, R., Dobbins, T., & Harris-Roxas, B. (2020). Clinical Experience Instrument and Findings (NSW Ministry of Health).
  22. Harris-Roxas, B., Woodland, L., Freeman, B., McKenzie, R., El Haddad, N., Chan, L., & Karezi, D. (2020). Raising awareness of the harms of waterpipe smoking Phase 2—Evaluation Component (Cancer Institute NSW).
  23. Barr, M., Comino, E., Harris, E., Harris-Roxas, B., Donnelly, D., Jackson, T., Blunden, L.A., Goodger, B., & Harris, M. (2019). Central and Eastern Sydney Primary and Community Health Data Linkage Project (Partnership of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Local Health District and Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network 2019-2021).
  24. Harris-Roxas, B., Woodland, L., Freeman, B., McKenzie, R., El Haddad, N., Chan, L., & Karezi, D. (2019). Raising awareness of the harms of waterpipe smoking—Evaluation Component (Cancer Institute NSW).
  25. Iqbal, M., Walpola, R., Harrison, R., Harris-Roxas, B., & Hall, J. (2019). Refugee Health Facilitator Program: Evaluating scope, scalability and outcomes (UNSW SPHCM Grant Building Support Scheme).
  26. Osborne, R., Harris, M., Kinsman, L., Batterham, R., Elmer, S., Spooner, C., Harris-Roxas, B., O’Callaghan, C., Li, X., Brown, G., & Thomas, N. (2019). Production, Delivery, and Evaluation of a Health Literacy Approach and Materials (Mental Health Commission of NSW).
  27. Sitas, F., Harris, M., Harris-Roxas, B., Haigh, F., Spooner, C., & Barr, M. (2019). A systematic literature review of the effectiveness of healthy lifestyle interventions to reduce alcohol consumption, increase physical activity and healthy eating and reduce overweight and obesity (Sax Institute).

My Qualifications

PhD (Public Health, UNSW)
Master of Policy and Applied Social Research (Macquarie)
Bachelor of Social Work (UNSW)


My Awards

  1. UNSW School of Population Health Higher Degree Research Supervisor Award 2022
  2. UNSW Faculty of Medicine & Health Research Community Engagement Team Award 2022 for Shisha No Thanks (with Dr Nouhad el-Haddad, Dr Lilian Chan, Dr Ross Mackenzie and A/Prof Freddy Sitas and community partners from the Lebanese Muslim Association, NSW Health, the University of Sydney and the Cancer Institute for NSW)
  3. Honourable Mention, 2021 Scientia Education Academy Exemplary Teaching Award
  4. NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards CommBank Business Campaign of the Year for Shisha No Thanks, 2020 (with SESLHD Priority Populations Unit, the NSW Multicultural Communication Service, the Lebanese Muslim Association, the University of Sydney, and colleagues at the South Eastern Sydney Research Collaboration Hub)
  5. South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Health Awards (Keeping People Health Category) for Shisha No Thanks, 2020 (with SESLHD Priority Populations Unit, the NSW Multicultural Communication Service, the Lebanese Muslim Association, the University of Sydney, and colleagues at the South Eastern Sydney Research Collaboration Hub)
  6. International Association for Impact Assessment, Institutional Award, 2010 – NSW HIA Project (with colleagues at the UNSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity)
  7. Australian Health Promotion Association Ray James Memorial Award for excellence in health promotion research published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2010 (with Marilyn Wise, Patrick Harris, and Elizabeth Harris)

My Research Activities

My research activities have focused on primary health care, integrated care, and health impact assessment. Some of my current projects include:

Some examples of research I have led and its impact are described below.

Shisha No Thanks
I led a group of researchers looking at attitudes and beliefs about waterpipe (shisha) use in Arabic-speaking communities. This research led to a Cancer Institute NSW-funded project on raising awareness of the harms of waterpipe use (2018-2020). This resulted in community partners and four Health Districts developing the “Shisha No Thanks” project. I led the evaluation of the project, which found a significantly higher proportion of Arabic-speaking young people reporting that they were aware of the harms of shisha smoking (pre: 45%, post: 68%, p=0.003). This research helped secure an extension of funding to focus on health care worker capacity and service responses (2020-2021). This research has also supported the collaboration with the NSW Ministry of Health and Cancer Institute NSW to embed shisha smoking into broader tobacco control policies and practices. The project won the 2020 South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Healthcare Award in the Keeping People Healthy category and the 2020 Business Campaign of the Year award in the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards

Typology of health impact assessment
Health impact assessment’s (HIA) use has been called for by agencies including WHO and the World Bank. Early in the development of the field of HIA, there was debate about the extent to which methods for appraising health risks, quantification models, lived experience, and citizen science should inform assessments. There was also debate about the role government should play in commissioning and undertaking HIAs. In response to this colleagues at UNSW and I developed a typology that sets out different forms of HIA, based on an empirical study of the forms of HIA conducted internationally. The typology enabled a more informed debate about the position and role of HIA in government, and more clearly differentiates the roles of commissioning agencies, assessors, and approval agencies. The typology been cited more than 145 times and has been cited or reproduced in the national policy and health impact assessment guidance developed in the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Bhutan. I've delivered plenary addresses on the typology at conferences in Dunedin, Seoul, Quebec City, Kobe, and Paris. 

Influencing policy on the use of translation apps in NSW
Colleagues at UNSW, five NSW Local Health Districts and I undertook a survey on the use of translation and apps and websites. The survey of more than 1,500 staff found that a third had used a translation app or website in a clinical encounter, and of those, it was clinicians who initiated use in 66% of cases. These findings informed an update of the NSW Health Policy Directive on Interpreters in December 2017 to clarify that the use of machine translation is not allowed.

Conceptual framework for the impact and effectiveness of health impact assessment
Colleagues at UNSW and I developed and piloted a framework for evaluating whether HIAs have an impact on decision-making and implementation, which was the first of its kind. This conceptual framework was further refined through my PhD research and informed the development of a successful ARC Discovery Project.  This project tested and refined the conceptual framework, and was one of the largest studies internationally to investigate the difference that HIAs make to decision-making and implementation. The framework has been used in evaluations in New Zealand and informed a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded review of HIA in the U.S.A. in 2013. I was an invited participant at a Pew Charitable Trusts HIA evaluation workshop in Washington DC in 2016.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Topics
I welcome students in the areas of:

  • integrated care
  • culture and health
  • health impact assessment.

My approach to supervision
I provide high-quality, collegial supervision to higher degree research candidates as they further their careers as researchers and practitioners. My approach is based on regular two-way communication, supporting candidates to set and develop their own research direction, and developing candidates' networks and supporting further opportunities.

Higher degree by research completions
  Completions Role
Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) 2 1 as Primary, 1 as Co-superisor
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) 1 1 as Primary
Medicine Honours (Hons) 2 1 as Primary, 1 as Co-supervisor

Currently supervising

  • Abdi, Fatemah - Falls prevention in the elderly CALD (Middle Eastern) community (MPhil)
  • Dove, Georgina - Implementation of effective public-private partnerships for primary health care (DrPH Future Health Leaders)
  • Green, Jenny - Addressing education gaps amongst healthcare providers regarding long-term health risk after hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (PhD, UTS)
  • Lilley, David - Housing policy and planning in Sydney (Scientia PhD)
  • Khan, Rabia - Understanding the role of social norms and trust on compliance with public health guidance (PhD)
  • McGlynn, Anna - Spread and scale of integrated care initiatives (DrPH Future Health Leaders)
  • Mirkovic, Nada - Supporting Integrated Rare Disease Care (PhD)
  • Wilson, Hester - Collaborative care between public specialist alcohol and other drug services and general practice (PhD)

My Engagement

Leadership

  • 2023 – present  Director, Dual Degree Programs, School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney
  • 2023 – present  Research Co-Lead, UNSW Academic General Practice Network
  • 2020 – present  Stream Convenor, Master of Public Health in Primary Health Care (PHCMPS), UNSW Sydney
  • 2023 – 2023  Deputy Director, Master of Public Health Program, UNSW Sydney
  • 2022 – 2023  Lead, Academic Engagement, School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney
  • 2021 – 2023  Lead, Partnerships working group, Health25 Strategy Implementation, UNSW Faculty of Medicine & Health
  • 2017 – 2021  Co-Convenor, Health System Integration and Primary Health Care Development Stream, UNSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity
  • 2015 – 2017  Convenor, Global Working Group on Health Impact Assessment, International Union for Health Promotion and Education
  • 2011 – 2015  Co-Convenor, Health Section, International Association for Impact Assessment

Other current roles

Editorial


My Teaching

My teaching interests are focused on strengthening health organisations, primary health care, and health equity.

I convene PHCM9391 Health Organisations, Strategy and Change, a core course within the School of Population Health's Master of Health Leadership and Management programs. I lead the Dual Master of Health Leadership and Management/Master of Public Health Program and I'm also the Stream Convenor for the Primary Health Care Specialisation.

I contribute to PHCM9129 Prevention and Management of Chronic DiseasePHCM9612 Environmental HealthPHCM9626 Inequalities and HealthPHCM9628 Health Impact Assessment and PHCM9790 Digital Health. I previously convened PHCM9615 Principles and Practice of Primary Health Care (2017-2023) and PHCM9628 Health Impact Assessment (2006-2010).

I design activities and assessments that give students choice and control about the focus of their learning, and which allow them to draw on their prior learning and experiences.​​​​​​ I'm committed to continuous educational improvement, and work in partnership with students to enhance courses.

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Location

School of Population Health
Level 3, Samuels Building
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052

Map reference (Google map)

Videos

Keynote address at the "Can Technology Speak my Language? The role of technology in health translation and interpreting" Forum, Sydney.
Presentation at "Self management support for chronic conditions: Opportunities for primary health care" Workshop, Sydney.
Keynote address at HIA12 12th International Health Impact Assessment Conference, Quebec City.
Presentation at the NSW launch of the CALD Assist app, Sydney.
Invited keynote (translatied into Spanish) at the Udalerria osasun sortzaile (Cities Creating Healthy Spaces) Conference, Bilbao, Spain.
Presentation with Associate Professor Margo Barr for the ICIC21 International Conference for Integrated Care 2021.
It’s happening already: The use of translation apps in healthcare settings
Patient activation and self-management
Fit for More Than One Purpose: Typologies, Theory and Evaluation in HIA
The use of machine translation in healthcare settings in NSW
Osasunaren galneko inpaktua ebaluatzea hiriko osasuna sustatzeko tresna gisa: Australiako esperientzia (Health Impact Assessment as a tool to promote urban health: The experience in Australia)
Understanding carer roles and challenges in Central and Eastern Sydney, Australia: A population based linked cohort study of people age 45 years and over