Dr Emma Frew PhD, MSc, BA (Hons)

Dr Emma Frew

Institute of Applied Health Research
Senior Lecturer in Health Economics

Contact details

Health Economics
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Emma Frew is a Senior Lecturer in Health Economics. Her research interests are in the economics of obesity and complex public health interventions. Emma is also interested and actively researching economic outcome measurement in children. Emma has published widely in scientific journals in the field of contingent valuation in health care and has a particular interest in the application of cost-benefit analysis for the evaluation of interventions that have benefits that go beyond the health care sector.  


  • PhD Health Economics 2003
  • MSc Health Economics 1998
  • BA (Hons) Economics and Marketing 1997


Emma Frew qualified with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Marketing from the University of Strathclyde in 1997. She then went on to study a MSc in Health Economics before joining the Economics Department, University of Nottingham in 1998. Emma spent 4 years working at Nottingham, before joining the Health Economics Unit at the University of Birmingham in 2002. Emma has continued to work at Birmingham on a number of projects since then.

Emma was awarded a PhD in 2003 that focused on the methodological properties of the contingent valuation approach to value colorectal cancer screening. It is the application of cost-benefit analysis tools that has been a significant theme in Emma's research with the development of research projects using these methods that span obesity-prevention, drug addiction, and mental health. She also has an interest in the use of utility-based instruments to measure outcome in children and is actively working on a large project looking at the methodological properties of EQ-5D-Y versus the CHU-9D instrument.

Emma is the Health Economics Unit lead for the Doctoral Research (DR) programme in Health Economics. Emma co-ordinates all DR activities and sits on both the School and the College Graduate Studies committee. 

In 2013, Emma was recognised as a Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.


Postgraduate supervision

Emma is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Application of cost-benefit analysis for the evaluation of complex interventions.
  • Economics of obesity
  • Health-related quality of life in a paediatric population.

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas or are interested in studying at the Health Economics Unit more generally please contact Emma using the contact details above.



Obesity, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Public Health, Priority setting, Economic Evaluation, Drug Addiction


Economics of Obesity

Emma is a co-investigator on a large HTA-RCT focused on measuring the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a school-based intervention to prevent obesity in school-aged children. As part of this Emma is leading on the health economics and a nested sub-study designed to assess the feasibility of using the CHU-9D and the EQ-5D-Y in this paediatric population.

Contingent Valuation

Contingent valuation offers the potential to measure a wider set of benefits than the more traditional tools of economic outcome measurement (e.g. QALYs). Emma is actively involved in applying this method in a number of clinical settings by leading on research projects within drug addiction, obesity prevention, and the evaluation of telecare services from the perspective of informal carers.


The main focus of Emma's research within PBMA has been on analysing the 'success' of PBMA as a prioritisation tool for decision-makers. She has supervised a number of MSc projects within this research area and is currently supervising a PhD student looking at the application of PBMA within Saudi Arabia. 

Drug Addiction

Emma is leading on the health economics for a feasibility study that is about assessing the cost-effectiveness of social behaviour network therapy (SBNT) for heroin users in opiate substitution treatment.  Within this study she is exploring using an adapted version of the Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI) for measuring resource use from a societal perspective and is using both the ICECAP measure and the EQ5D as outcome measures.

Research Design Service

Emma is a senior advisor for the West Midlands RfPB Research Design Service. This involves co-ordinating and providing advice on health economics issues for applications for the RfPB funding stream.


Stephen C, Hamira S, Frew E.  2013 Telecare service for people with dementia: a cost-benefit analysis.  Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, in press.

Canaway A and Frew E.  2013. Measuring preference based quality of life in children aged 6-7 years:  A comparison of the performance of CHU-9D and EQ-5D-Y.  The WAVES pilot study.  Quality of Life Research, 22 (1), pp.173-182.

Gait C, Frew E, Martin T, Jowett S, Irving R. 2013 Conservative management, surgery, and radiosurgery for treatment of vestibular schwannomas: cost-effectiveness analysis.  Clinical Otolaryngology, in press.

Canaway A and Frew E.  2013. Utility based health related quality of life in children aged 6-7 years: is it affected by Body Mass Index (BMI)?: The WAVES pilot study.  International Journal of Obesity, in press.

Sanghera S, Frew E, Kai J, Gupta J, Roberts T. 2013. An Assessment of Economic Measures used in Menorrhagia: A Systematic Review.  Social Science & Medicine, 98, pp. 162-168.

Goodwin E and Frew E.  2013. How useful is programme budgeting and marginal analysis (PBMA)?:  A reflection from an English Primary Care Trust (PCT).  Social Science & Medicine, 98, pp. 149-153.

Mistry H, Oppong R and Frew E. 2013. Health Economics website (HEe): a tool to enhance health economics teaching in the United Kingdom.  Journal of Economics Education, in press.

Oppong R, Mistry H and Frew E. 2013. Health economics education in undergraduate medical training: introducing the health economics education (HEe) website.  Medical Education, 13; pp. 126.

Edward Day, Copello Alex, Jennifer L Seddon, Marilyn Christie, Deborah Bamber, Charlotte Powell, Sanju George, Andrew Ball, Emma Frew and Nicholas Freemantle. 2013. Pilot Study of A Social Network Intervention For Heroin Users In Opiate Substitution Treatment: Study Protocol. Trials, 14: pp. 264

Kaambwa, B., Frew, E., 2013. Health economics in the UK: Capacity, constraints and comparisons to US health economists. International Review of Economics Education, 12, pp. 1-13.