On 1 September 2020, Prof. Dr. Leonie Sundmacher accepted the TU Munich's appointment to the new Chair of Health Economics at the Department of Sport and Health Sciences. She was previously Head of the Department of Health Services Management at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich's Faculty of Business Administration from October 2013 to August 2020.
Prof. Sundmacher studied Economics, Health Economics and Political Science at the University of York and the Free University of Berlin. She subsequently received her doctorate in 2010 in Economics at the Technical University of Berlin. From April 2012 to September 2013, Sundmacher held the junior professorship in the field of health services research and quality management in the outpatient sector at the Technical University Berlin.
Since 2016, the Doctor of Health Economics has been a member of the Expert Advisory Board of the Innovation Fund at the Federal Joint Committee and the Health Services Research Monitoring Group established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Since mid-2018, she has also been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the further development of morbidity-oriented risk structure compensation at the Federal Insurance Office as well as a member of the Commission for a modern remuneration system at the Federal Ministry of Health.
Dear Prof. Sundmacher, what was the decisive factor in your decision to move from the LMU to the Technical University of Munich?
I had been hoping for some time that the TU Munich would offer a professorship in the field of health economics. When the time came, I strived to demonstrate my strengths in my application and during the subsequent selection process. So, I am all the more pleased that it worked out and that I was appointed by TUM. I am particularly interested in the interdisciplinary cooperation opportunities within the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, but also with the TUM School of Medicine and the TUM School of Management. Since the position is oriented in this direction, it suits me perfectly.
What does the appointment at the TU Munich mean to you?
For me, it felt like winning the jackpot when I received the confirmation. After all, who gets the chance to move from one university of excellence to another within the same city together with their whole team? In this respect, the appointment means a lot to me.
What is your impression of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences so far?
So far, I have received a really warm welcome at the faculty, which is a great help starting out! Especially since I have only worked in economics departments until now. Not every university necessarily has a Department of Sport and Health Sciences. I also gained the impression that the department itself is devoting a great deal of extremely valuable consideration to how it can set and shape its research priorities in line with the disciplines it represents.
What are you looking forward to most with regard to your work at the Department of Sport and Health Sciences?
I am particularly looking forward to interdisciplinary work with my new colleagues and, in particular, to teaching in the field of health sciences.
What will be your main research topics?
Many major projects are already underway, and my team will continue to work on them with me. All of the projects deal with the interface between health economics and health services research. We usually cooperate with interdisciplinary consortium partners from other universities, health insurance companies, doctors' associations, etc. In one project pipeline we carry out health economic evaluations, another pipeline deals with quality management and quality measurement. And last but not least, health services research with routine data as well as remuneration and financing are also featured as overarching themes.
You were also elected as the new Dean of Studies for Bachelor’s and Master's degrees when you took office. What priorities would you like to focus on during your term of office?
First of all, of course, I would like to acclimatise at the faculty and learn as much as possible about the degree programs offered here. Overall, my priorities tend to center around quality, challenges and having fun while learning, as well as close links to attractive career paths.
And one last question: Do you do any sport yourself? And if so, which one?
Most of all I enjoy spending time in the mountains and accumulating skiing days and vertical metres.
Thank you for the interview!
Prof. Dr. Leonie Sundmacher
Chair of Health Economics
Interview: Romy Schwaiger
Photo: Chair of Health Economics