Athena Swan Chain Reaction Interview 1: When Eva met Aki

A large photo of Eva and Aki

Eva Kaltenthaler interviewing Aki Tsuchiya

Eva: What does your work entail?

Aki: I have a joint appointment and work 50% of my time in ScHARR and 50% in the Department of Economics. My research involves putting numbers on things that others might think cannot be quantified, like how good or bad a given health state is. I design ways to get people to trade between, for example living in a given health state for a longer period and living in full health for a shorter period.

Eva: How did you get here?

Aki: I studied in Kyoto, Japan, followed by a post-doc at York, and came to ScHARR as a Research Associate in 2000. I was promoted a year later to Research Fellow and subsequently became a Lecturer. I moved on to a joint Senior Lecturer post between ScHARR and Department of Economics in 2005 and became a Reader in 2007. In 2011 I became a professor.

Eva: What are you proud of?

Aki: One is a paper I wrote looking at inequalities in lifetime health between men and women. Women can expect more lifetime health than men, so, the paper asks: should we give higher priority to men’s health than to women’s health? (Tsuchiya, A., & Williams, A. (2005). A “fair innings” between the sexes: are men being treated inequitably? Social Science & Medicine, 60(2), 277-286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.04.035)
The other is the topic of my inaugural lecture entitled “Is more health always better?” In this I describe the situation where more health might not be so good for society, if for example it benefits those who are already better off and increases inequalities. (Abásolo, I., & Tsuchiya, A. (2013). Is more health always better for society? Exploring public preferences that violate monotonicity. Theory and decision, 74(4), 539-563. doi:10.1007/s11238-011-9292-1). Both papers were a bit controversial.

Eva: What do you like about working in ScHARR?

Aki: I like working at ScHARR because of the flexibility. I also enjoy the intellectual stimulus from colleagues and being able to have a joint appointment between two departments.

Eva: Do you have any tips for maintaining a good “work life” balance?

Aki: I think it is important to make time for other things in life apart from work. I enjoy playing the violin in an amateur orchestra. At the end of the day I shut off from work, mainly by reserving work for the office.