LL.B. [Law and Economics] (Keele University, UK)
M.Sc. [Health Economics] (University of York, UK)
Ph.D. [Primary Care Sciences (specialization in health economics)] (Keele University, UK)
Post-Doctoral Fellowship (University of British Columbia; funded by the Rick Hansen Institute)
Assistant Professor (Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University)
Research InterestsEconomic evaluation; Health economics; outcome measurement; Outcome valuation; Quality of life; wellbeing
One area of Dr. Whitehurst’s current research concerns the assessment of quality of life for individuals living with spinal cord injury, with a specific interest in the validation of preference-based outcome measures suitable for use in economic evaluation. The concepts of health state description and valuation, comparability of alternative outcomes measures, and the application of economic evaluation techniques alongside clinical intervention studies have been common themes throughout his career. Other research interests include the paradigmatic distinction between clinical and economic evaluation, the implications of adaptation for health state valuation, and the relationship between health-related quality of life and subjective wellbeing.
Dr. Whitehurst was the project lead for Spinal Cord Injury & Secondary Complications: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of Preference-based Instruments (Rick Hansen Institute – Translation Research Program), with ICORD researcher Dr. Marcel Dvorak and Dr. Vanessa Noonan (Rick Hansen Institute) as the co-applicants. The major findings from this project are described in the section below.
He is a co-applicant with ICORD Researcher Dr. Andrei Krassioukov on the CIHR Team Grant: Improved Cardiovascular Outcomes for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury, which is currently ongoing. Dr. Whitehurst is also the Principal Investigator on an ICORD Seed Grant with Drs. John Kramer and Jacquelyn Cragg.
According to a systematic review of preference-based health-related quality of life questionnaires in spinal cord injury research done by Dr. Whitehurst and his colleagues, cost-effectiveness is an increasingly important consideration for decision makers in all areas of health care. However, there is a distinct lack of conceptual or empirical research regarding the appropriateness of alternative preference-based health-related quality of life measures for SCI populations.
‘Short Form’ health surveys – such as the SF-36 and SF-12 – are widely used in medical research. SCI is no exception, despite oft-cited concerns regarding measurement properties for populations with physical impairment. Dr. Whitehurst’s findings suggest that although standardized Short Form health surveys are common within SCI research, attempts to add, delete, or modify items have resulted in a number of variants, often with minimal supportive psychometric evidence.
A focus group study explored the views of individuals living with SCI towards six preference-based health-related quality of life instruments with the objective of identifying ‘preferred’ outcome measures (from the perspective of the participants). The 35-item AQoL-8D was considered to be comprehensive, with relevant content (i.e. wheelchair inclusive) and applicable items. Participants had mixed perceptions about the other questionnaires, albeit to varying degrees. Empirical, comparative analysis of the favoured instruments identified in this study is currently under way.
Web-based surveys/Techniques employed:
- Focus groups
- Analysis of registry data (RHSCIR)
- Systematic reviews
- Cohort studies
- Psychometric validation
- Economic evaluation
Affiliation with organizations and societies:
- Health Economists’ Study Group (HESG)
- International Society on Priorities in Health Care (ISPHC)
- Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM)
- EuroQol Group
- International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL)
Some of Dr. Whitehurst’s major awards and accomplishments include:
- Vice-President, Academic’s 2017/18 Conference Funding (SFU, 2017)
- EuroQol Group Panel Session Funding (EuroQol Group Executive Committee, 2016)
- Vice-President, Academic’s 2016/17 Conference Funding (SFU, 2016)
- CIHR Fellowship (2011-2012)
- Postdoctoral Fellowship (Rick Hansen Institute, 2011-2013)
Current Lab Members
|Masters Students||Ph.D. Students||Research Staff|
|Faaria Samnani||Lidia Engel||Matthew Shupler|
|Tim Ainge||Yvonne Michel||Megan Ahuja|
|Joe Carroll||Freda Warner||Louisa Edwards|
Current Opportunities In the Lab
If people are interested in opportunities related to his area of research, please contact Dr. David Whitehurst.
- Engel, L, Bryan, S, Noonan, VK, Whitehurst, DGT. 2018. Using path analysis to investigate the relationships between standardized instruments that measure health-related quality of life, capability wellbeing and subjective wellbeing: An application in the context of spinal cord injury.. Soc Sci Med. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.041.
- Whitehurst, DGT et al.. 2018. Developing Accessible, Pictorial Versions of Health-Related Quality-of-Life Instruments Suitable for Economic Evaluation: A Report of Preliminary Studies Conducted in Canada and the United Kingdom.. Pharmacoecon Open. doi: 10.1007/s41669-018-0083-2.
- Cragg, JJ et al.. 2018. Prevalence of chronic pain among individuals with neurological conditions.. Health Rep.
- Whitehurst, DG, Engel, L. 2018. Disability discrimination and misdirected criticism of the quality-adjusted life year framework.. J Med Ethics. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2016-104066.
- Winters, M et al.. 2018. Impacts of Bicycle Infrastructure in Mid-Sized Cities (IBIMS): protocol for a natural experiment study in three Canadian cities.. BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019130.