Health economist; Born October 10, 1942; Died February 18, 2008. DR STEVE Engleman, who has died aged 65, was a distinguished health economist who lectured at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh before working as an independent consultant for a wide range of public organisations in Scotland and in other European countries.

He was born and grew up in Brooklyn and graduated first in industrial relations (at Cornell University) and then in economics at the University of California Berkeley. His PhD - evaluating the Job Corps Programme, the key component of the Johnson administration's War on Poverty - was completed in 1971.

In the same period, he was an active participant in the free-speech movement and the student activism in support of civil rights that characterised the Berkeley campus during the 1960s. These experiences confirmed his lifelong belief in the value and importance of public services as a central feature of social policy.

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Together with a new wife and daughter, he moved to Glasgow in 1971 as a lecturer in labour economics and industrial relations.

Engleman's early work on applying economic principles to professional training grew into a wider interest in healthcare that was partly stimulated by the challenge of teaching basic economic ideas to doctors and partly by engaging in innovative economic assessments of developments in obstetrics.

It was not surprising, therefore, that he moved to Edinburgh in 1978 as senior lecturer in health economics in the university's department of community medicine, a post he combined with providing economic consultancy to Lothian Health Board.

The problems of the NHS then were much the same as they are today, resting mainly on questions of human resources and the evaluation of new ways of delivering healthcare. One consequence was that Engleman found his consultancy skills in these areas in increasing demand leading, in 1988, to his decision to become an independent consultant in these fields.

Well before this time, he was no longer the American; he identified closely with the concerns and values of Scottish society. It is relevant that - throughout his career - his work was entirely focused on the objectives of public rather than private agencies.

At different periods he was a specialist adviser to House of Commons select committees on social services, health and Scottish affairs, an adviser to the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, consultant to Audit Scotland and the Social Work Services Inspectorate, the European office of the World Health Organisation and other healthcare agencies in Europe. More recently he was a member of the Health Technology Board for Scotland. This rather dry list fails to recognise the help and support he provided both for the organisations themselves and for many people within them. The latter was, perhaps, his greatest but least public skill: that he was always available to those facing complex or difficult problems and able to provide analysis and counselling about the options open to them.

These activities aside, he found time for a wide range of other interests. First of these was an abiding enthusiasm for Balkan and Greek dancing but horse racing - and the ability to make it profitable - came a close second. He was secretary of the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society and an active member of the recently founded Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community (Sukkat Shalom).

His later years were clouded by ill-health following a renal cancer, several years of dialysis and then a successful transplant. None of these setbacks was allowed to impede what he regarded as more important concerns; even late in his last illness he was still debating aspects of health services policy and their likely implications. His large circle of friends will miss these conversations.

He is survived by his wife, Kathie, his daughters Heather and Hannah and his grandchildren, Joe and Catriona.