"I am grateful for the very supportive community of graduate students, faculty, and staff. I appreciate how approachable SFU faculty are and the commitment among faculty and students to critical, community-engaged research."

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Student Profile: Andrew Longhurst

Human Geography PhD student in the Faculty of Environment

December 04, 2020
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I am a PhD student in the Department of Geography. As a political economic geographer and health services researcher, I am interested in the spatial, political-economic, and social dimensions of health care policymaking. Since completing my BA (Hons) at UBC and MA in Human Geography at SFU, I have been working in the health care policy field, most recently with the Health Sciences Association of BC and as a Research Associate with the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I have also worked in government in a seconded role as Senior Advisor to the BC Ministry of Health’s Primary and Community Care Research Initiative.

My doctoral research is concerned with the political and economic geographies of health care reform in Canada and internationally. Conceptually, I am interested in how primary care reforms across high-income jurisdictions are reshaping the roles of government, civil society, and the private sector in the provision of care and governance of public health care systems. In many cases, the locally devolved nature of reforms has provided opportunities for the marketization of the primary care sector (i.e., use of market mechanisms and greater private sector role). This policy experimentation epitomizes contemporary policymaking, in which policy models and ‘best practices’ circulate internationally through networks of policy actors and translocal learning, even with concerns about whether market-oriented reforms actually improve health outcomes or cost-effectiveness, as its supporters claim. In this way, my research seeks to understand what effects these changes have on citizens served by these health care systems, and how political and policy struggles over the marketization of public health care are expressed through and influenced by primary care reforms. Methodologically, I will use a comparative, mixed-methods case study approach of primary care reforms in England, Scotland, Victoria state (Australia), and British Columbia.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I completed my MA in the SFU Department of Geography, which I found to be a supportive and stimulating intellectual environment. I was eager to return to SFU Geography and pursue a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Eugene McCann who has been advancing critical and innovative ways of understanding policymaking in our globalized world.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.

A strong primary care system is the foundation of a high-quality and cost-effective public health care system, but many jurisdictions struggle to adopt and implement policy changes that can improve primary care and public health care systems. In order to explain these challenges and learn from them, my research looks at how the political and economic aspects of primary care reform shape whether jurisdictions are successful – or not – in their efforts to improve the health of communities and limit public health care costs.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am grateful for the very supportive community of graduate students, faculty, and staff. I appreciate how approachable SFU faculty are and the commitment among faculty and students to critical, community-engaged research.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I am privileged and honoured to have received a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship. This scholarship will be critical to helping me complete my doctoral research.

Contact Andrew: andrew_longhurst@sfu.ca