Centre for Applied Statistics in Health

About CASiH

Based at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) is the Centre for Applied Statistics in Health (CASiH). Members of CASiH come from a variety of backgrounds. All have formal qualifications in statistics or an analyst role in the centre and all have previously worked in areas where they have had to analyse data, prepare reports to present their results and disseminate their findings in other ways.

The focus of all CASiH’s work is to find the story hidden in the data and to present these findings in ways that are clearly understood and easily applied to their health system context.

Members of CASiH have expertise in all areas of applied statistics, including classification development, time series, statistical modelling, regression analysis in its many guises, survey design and analysis and experimental design. They work across all other centres in AHSRI, applying their expertise to the quantitative elements of a wide variety of projects, from their design through to the dissemination of the results.

CASiH staff

Dr Conrad Kobel primarily contributes to the ongoing research and development of casemix systems in Australia, feeding into the national activity based funding program. Furthermore, he has provided statistical and technical expertise in a number of projects investigating and improving costing methodologies, funding model design and strategic management of health services.

Before joining AHSRI in 2013 he worked as a research fellow at Innsbruck Medical University in Innsbruck, Austria for almost five years. There, he was a key researcher in the EuroDRG project, which compared multiple aspects of several European Diagnosis-Related Group systems. Within the project, Conrad primarily contributed to the methodological framework of the empirical analyses. In addition, he supported clinical research with statistical analyses and taught applied statistics to medical students.

With his international experience, he strengthens and broadens the capacity of the quantitative analysis team at AHSRI. Conrad has international collaborations with Canada and Europe and is a faculty member of an annual short course that provides comprehensive skills on the design, implementation and evaluation of casemix-based funding models run by the Patient Casemix Systems International (PCSI). Conrad has studied mathematics and financial mathematics in Germany and Sweden and has completed the Doctoral Program in Social and Economic Sciences (main focus on health economics) at Innsbruck University in Austria.

Dr Luise Lago is a Senior Research Fellow working for CHRISP. She is currently researching Frequent Attenders to Emergency Departments and supporting research projects in the areas of Secondary Prevention of Atherosclerosis, Identification of Dementia, Suicide Prevention, Rehabilitation, Allied Health and adverse drug events.

Luise has more than 15 years of research experience in government and academia, including the areas of classifications development, hospital funding, longitudinal data analysis, biostatistics and epidemiology. Her PhD was on the use of mixed models for imputation of missing data in household surveys.

Dr Victoria Westley-Wise is a Clinical Epidemiologist working for CHRISP. As a member of the CHRISP team, she works closely with Illawarra clinicians, statisticians and other researchers to design and implement research using IHIP data and infrastructure. Victoria has 30 years’ experience in the health system, including 25 years in public/population health, service planning and evaluation, and epidemiology roles. She has undertaken epidemiological evaluations and research in a range of areas, using both descriptive and analytic study designs. 

Tara is a full-time member of AHSRI, joining in 2002 after working at the Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare. As the AROC Data Manager she is responsible for data management, benchmarking and reporting components of AROC. Tara brings extensive statistical and database management skills to AHSRI. She is mostly involved in AROC projects and some CHSD projects, ranging from rehabilitation specific patient experience surveys, to community health and community care surveys, to building databases to assist various evaluation projects. Tara has experience in linkage of de-identified data sets and has provided the statistical work for building a number of priority rating tools for the community care side of the Institute's work.

As the statistician for the electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration (ePPOC), Sam supports the data management, benchmarking and reporting components of the program. He has more than 10-years of experience in the areas of data development, patient outcome measurement, casemix development and health service benchmarking. Sam received his BMath(Hons) from the University of Wollongong and is currently completing a Master of Biostatistics.

Megan Blanchard is a Research Fellow (Applied Statistics) who joined AHSRI in 2010 after working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Since joining AHSRI, Megan has been part of the core team working on the development of classifications such as the Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Group (AR-DRG) classification v7.0 and Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient (AN-SNAP) classification v4.0. Megan also has experience in health outcome measurement – she was the statistician for the electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration (ePPOC) for 7 years and is now responsible for the statistical components of the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC). 

Alanna Connolly joined AHSRI in July 2013 after working at BlueScope Steel for a number of years. She has tertiary qualifications in Engineering and Applied Statistics. Alanna is currently working on PCOC. 

Dinberu Shebeshi joined ePPOC as a Research Fellow (Applied Statistics) in May 2021. Recently, Dinberu worked as an associate Biostatistician at the Sax Institute, Sydney. He has a background in statistics, with a Bachelor and Master degrees. During his PhD study in Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at the University of Newcastle, he applied his statistical skills on topics related to the Australian health care system, in the context of population ageing and the increasing burden of chronic disease. He has a particular interest in survival analysis, spatial analysis and generalized linear models.

Sam joined the PCOC team in the role of Data Analyst in January 2018. This follows graduation from a Medical and Health Sciences Degree at the end of 2017.

Andrew Joined AHSRI in 2020 and works part-time as a data analyst. He has a background in Nephrology research and medical applications of isotope geochemistry in Chronic Kidney Disease, graduating with a Bachelor of Medical and Health Sciences (Honours - Class 1) from UOW in 2019. 

Lewis joined AHSRI in 2009 and began work as a part-time admin assistant.  He has since graduated with a bachelors in mechanical engineering and now works full time as a Data Analyst in the AROC team.  Lewis’ main roles involve managing the collection and dissemination of AROC’s routine data and reporting procedures.

Stephen joined the CHRISP team in 2019 as a Research Assistant. He provides Analysis/Statistics support to projects in mental health and end of life. Stephen has obtained a Master of Statistics and a Bachelor of Science (Physics) at the University of Wollongong.

Patrick oversees application development, IT systems, integrations, and vendors that support the activities of the institute and manages a team of developers, support analysts and other IT professionals. He has a strong background in supporting research and data IT applications, having been with AHSRI since 2011. Patrick has a Bachelor's degree in IT and qualifications in cybersecurity and health services research. 

Daniel joined AROC in 2018 and is involved in managing and reporting on AROC data. He has a background in both Medical Science and Mathematics, graduating a Bachelor of Medical Mathematics (Honours) from UOW in 2017.

IS_Epi_Bio Network

Are you an epidemiologist, biostatistician or work in a related field? Would you like to be part of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Epidemiology Biostatistics (IS_Epi_Bio) Network?

The IS_Epi_Bio network is a group of epidemiologists, biostatisticians and those working in a related field (e.g. data analysts, data scientists and statisticians) in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.

The network is convened by Dr Luise Lago (Biostatistician, CHRISP UOW) and Dr Victoria Westley-Wise (Clinical Epidemiologist, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District) and focuses on professional development and networking. Each quarterly meeting includes a presentation from a member or guest speaker on relevant topics, with a focus on technical methods.  

Examples of previous presentations:

  • May 2019 - Investigating functional decline at the end of life: An application of segmented regression and Locally Weighted Scatterplot Smoothing (LOWESS) – Sam Allingham (Australian Health Services Research Institute, UOW)
  • August 2019 - Exploring the use of mediation analysis to identify causal pathways and intervention targets to improve maternal and child health – Dr Danielle Schoenaker (School of Medicine, UOW)
  • November 2019 - Causal Modelling and Inverse Probability Treatment Weighting (IPTW) - Walt Davis (PowerLab, School of Health & Society UOW)
  • July 2020 - Statistical Modelling Techniques for Understanding Trajectories of Long-term Care Use Across Later Life – Dr Md Mijanur Rahman (Australian Health Services Research Institute, UOW)
  • November 2020 - COVID-19 epidemiology and the Illawarra Shoalhaven public health response - Dr Victoria Westley-Wise (ISLHD/CHRISP)
  • March 2021 - Assessing efficacy of the Illawarra Shoalhaven High Risk Foot Service using Propensity Score Matching - Joseph Holliday (Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District)
  • March 2021 - Propensity Score Matching for control selection - Stephen Moules (Australian Health Services Research Institute, UOW)
  • July 2021 - An overview of Social Network Analysis (SNA) - Professor Alberto Nettel-Aguirre (Centre for Health and Social Analytics, UOW)
  • December 2021 – Patterns of mental health and alcohol and other drug service use after attending ED with an amphetamine-related presentation - Dr Briony Larance (UOW School of Psychology) and Stephen Moules, (Australian Health Services Research Institute, UOW)
  • March 2022 – Validation of hospital frailty risk score to predict hospital use in older people: Evidence from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health - Dr Dinberu Shebeshi (Australian Health Services Research Institute, UOW)
  • May 2022 – Linked Sensitive Data – a Beginners Guide. Dr Felicity Flack (Population Health Research Network, University of Western Australia)

For further information or to join the IS_Epi_Bio mailing list, contact:

Dr Luise Lago, lago@uow.edu.au, or ph: 4221 5835
Dr Victoria Westley-Wise, Victoria.WestleyWise@health.nsw.gov.au

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