Research Assistant (Prof. Dr. Stefan Boes)
T +41 41 229 57 53 • Room 1.B05 • kathryn.dawson@ unilu.ch
Kathryn graduated from the Master of Health Science program at the University of Lucerne in June 2016 with a concentration in Health Service Research. She studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan and earned an MBA from the University of Dayton (Ohio). Prior to moving to Switzerland, she worked for a large health insurer in Massachusetts in a variety of operational, strategic, and IT leadership roles. Additional work experience includes working at a large hospital (University of California at San Diego Medical Center) and an engineering consulting firm. She also studied and worked at TU Braunschweig (Germany).
Kathryn’s research topic is inequalities and inequities in health. The Swiss health care system is recognized for high quality and guaranteed access to necessary health care services through statutory health insurance. At the same time, there are also health inequalities within the system, across different dimensions and population groups. While some inequalities may be unavoidable, such as differences in mobility between younger and older populations, others may be attributable to avoidable factors. Examples here include inequalities related to the exposure to different risk factors to health, or social and economic conditions that influence health status, the utilization of health care services, and access to particular health care services.
Her first empirical research project focuses on population aging and the related inequalities in health that develop over one’s lifespan. Population aging is seen as a major challenge to modern healthcare systems not only because there is an associated change in the prevalence of certain diseases and in health care needs of the elderly population, but also because health inequalities may accumulate over the lifespan. Inequalities are linked to the exposure to occupational health risks, and other economic and social conditions that influence the individuals’ health status early in life. There is a need to develop and design cost-effective policy interventions that help to address these challenges before they occur, targeting health inequalities during their working years and before retirement. This aligns with the equality of opportunity principle defined by the Swiss government and the “Aging Equally” initiative of the OECD.
Contribution/presentation at a scientific conference
- Long-term care financing and the provision of informal help: evidence from a policy change in Switzerland. Lecture, Swiss Public Health Conference 2020, Swiss Public Health, Virtuelle, 2020
- Information seeking and knowledge on in-home care services in a representative sample in Switzerland. (Panel) contribution, European Public Health Conference, European Public Health Association, Marseille, 2019