Registered to supervise postgraduate research

1996 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Trained as an obstetrician, Associate Professor Gao has extensive experience in medical advanced biostatistics and health economics research.  Gao’s work is published in top ranking journals including 3 Lancet papers. A/Prof Gao routinely prepares quantitative reports to give data back to community, with a focus on ensuring data are accurate and meaningful to community.

Gao’s health economic evaluations have enabled health policy makers to make evidence-informed decisions on resource allocation. Her work on NHMRC funded 1+1= A Healthy Start to Life study was the first to demonstrate that the midwifery group practice model of care improved outcomes and reduced costs for Indigenous women in remote areas. Her methods have been recognised as particularly rigorous and replicated in the Lowitja Institute funded evaluation of the Baby Basket Program in North Queensland. For the Birthing in our Community study, Gao’s economic evaluation included women’s and family’s out-of-pocket expenses directly related to their pregnancy, making it the first study to measure these expenses for Indigenous families accessing maternity care and the results were published in the Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific.

Gao performed advanced statistical analysis using propensity score matching and demonstrated significant reductions in preterm birth in the BiOC study, which has been used by Aboriginal organisations and mainstream services to secure $4.1M to expand the model. She is a member of Grant Assessment Committee for MRFF (2022 (2 rounds), 2023) and external assessor for NHMRC (2016). 

A/Prof Gao provides leadership and mentoring for the data and analytics program of work across all MWRC research studies in quantitative data management, analysis, and health economic evaluation.

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