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Professor Christopher Doran

Professor Christopher Doran is an Adjunct Professor at ECU’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute, with expertise in health economics and priority setting.


Employment: Professor Doran currently holds a joint appointment with the Hunter Medical Research Institute, the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley Research Foundation. This appointment involves working with researcher, clinicians and policy makers in building capacity in the knowledge, use and translation of health economics. Prior to relocating to Newcastle, Professor Doran was the lead Health Economist and Assistant Director at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Over the period September 2003 - January 2008, Professor Doran worked in the Centre for Burden of Disease and Cost-Effectiveness, University of Queensland (UQ) where he had a joint appointment with the School of Economics led by Professor John Foster and the School of Population Health led by Prof Alan Lopez formally of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Peer recognition: As an international drug and alcohol expert and a leading health economist, Professor Doran has been invited to be a keynote speaker at both National and International meetings. In 2012, he was the invited plenary speaker at the 13th Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference held in Melbourne. In 2011, Professor Doran was invited to speak at the Crime Prevention and Policy Conference hosted by the Australian Institute of Criminology. In 2010 he was invited to meet and present to delegates from the WHO and the United Nations on the role of economic evaluation in identifying efficiency gains in drug and alcohol policy. Both of these multilaterals subsequently commissioned Professor Doran to design and conduct research on their behalf. In 2009 Professor Doran was invited to speak to the Australian Senate Inquiry into Alcohol Taxation Policy. Professor Doran is also regarded as an international expert in the area of priority setting. He with colleagues Prof Vos and Carter developed and applied an innovative approach to priority setting that involves: a standardised economic protocol to overcome methodological confounding; close involvement of policy-makers and clinicians; and, a concept of benefit based on health gain, but including broader factors that impinge on policy decisions such as affordability, feasibility and acceptability.

Research translation: Professor Doran has made a significant contribution to knowledge creation and transfer. He has collaborated with researchers, clinicians and policy makers in conducting cost-effectiveness studies on topics including trauma, obstetrics, complementary medicine, intellectual disability; cystic fibrosis, pharmacy, cancer, CVD, HIV, injury, genetics and substance abuse. His research has made an impact at the local, national and international level. Professor Doran has developed health economic capacity with academics and transferred health economic knowledge into practice with clinicians. His research has impacted on the availability of medicines in Australia and shaped the development of alcohol and drug policy around the world.

Awards and Recognition

Professor Doran was recently awarded the 2012 Australasian researcher of the year by the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability for his published paper entitled “How much does intellectual disability really cost – first estimates for Australia”. This pivotal paper helped shape the Federal Governments National Disability Insurance Scheme and supported a successful $5.2 million NHMRC program grant (APP1016919) to extend this research. In 2011, Professor Doran received the National Drug and Alcohol Award for Excellence in Research for his work on the “The range and magnitude of alcohols' harm to others”. In 2010 Professor Doran was awarded a travelling fellowship at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University. In 2006 he was selected as a mentor for the interdisciplinary postgraduate training in mental health policy and economic research. Four recipients received this internationally competitive award which was conferred by the World Psychiatric Association in conjunction with the International Centre of Mental Health Policy and Economics. In 1996 Professor Doran was awarded the prize for excellence in student research at the 10th World conference on Tobacco or Health (Beijing, China). In 1995, he was awarded an Australian postgraduate research scholarship.

Research Areas and Interests

  • health economics
  • priority setting
  • population health
  • capacity building
  • addiction
  • alcohol

Research Publications / Grants (past five years)

Publications: 145 publications to date with many in international journals including the Lancet, Drug and Alcohol Dependence and Addiction; 34 publications are first authored. For the 5 year period 2008-2012, a total of 56 publications (average of 11.2 papers each year) including 18 publications in 2012. An additional 15 manuscripts are currently under review. Seminal contributions include: a Lancet paper that influenced a Senate Affairs Inquiry into alcohol taxation; providing evidence to a National Assembly that introduced legislation to mandate helmet use in Vietnam; development of clinical guidelines for PTSD; development of the growth and empowerment measure to evaluate outcomes for empowerment in Indigenous Australians; and, research that has improved the cost-effectiveness of health care resource allocation in Australia.

Grants: Professor Doran has been a chief investigator (CI) on 39 competitive grants valued in excess of $28 million and an associate investigator on 4 NHMRC grants valued at over $7 million. As a CI, 3 grants were supported by international philanthropic funding; 12 NHMRC grants, 3 ARC grants and the remainer from various funders including the Pharmacy Guild, the Alcohol Education Foundation and the Department of Health and Aging. Grant success includes the following two examples. A CI on a NHMRC grant (APP351558) entitled “Assessing cost effectiveness of interventions to reduce the burden of harm from non-communicable diseases (NCDs)”. This ground breaking research evaluated the cost-effectiveness of 150 preventive health interventions, addressing areas such as mental health, diabetes, obesity, mental illness, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, cancer, CVD, nutrition and physical activity. This research is the largest and most rigorous cost-effectiveness analysis of preventive strategies ever undertaken and has provided a solid platform for policy action on the prevention of NCDs in Australia. Professor Doran led a $1.9 million NHMRC funded capacity building grant (CBG) in the area of health economics (APP456002). A multidisciplinary project involving 4 universities and researchers from the WHO, the CBG has contributed to the development of research capacity and methodological sophistication in economic evaluation and priority setting. Over 30 manuscripts have been published, $10 million in research funding has been obtained and research has been presented in multiple national and international forums to a range of audiences.

Research Student Supervisions

Professor Doran has supervised over 20 post graduate students including 7 completed and 3 current PhD students. He has developed, coordinated and lectured in a range of health economics courses. He was instrumental in developing postgraduate courses in Health Economics at the University of Queensland. Professor Doran has conducted health economic workshops to a range of audiences all around the world including Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Europe. His current position involves working with researcher, clinicians and policy makers in building capacity in the knowledge and use of health economics.

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