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Question - Making iHEA more relevant for its non-academic members
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11/8/2017 at 6:41:28 AM GMT
Posts: 3
Question - Making iHEA more relevant for its non-academic members

Hi Presidential Candidates!


Thank you all for standing first of all.  So a question to get you started which has troubled me somewhat throughout my membership of HEA  over many years, and which I have also posted for the aspiring Directors.  iHEA's mission is to: 

  1. Increase communication among health economists;
  2. Foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems; and
  3. Assist young researchers at the start of their careers

Only objective 3 is exclusively (and perfectly reasonably) about academic health economists.  Yet my experience as a long-standing member who has worked for government over most of my career (and membership) is that iHEA is overwhelmingly just an academic society which struggles to offer much to us minority members out in the policy world beyond the opportunity to join our academic colleagues at conferences.   Indeed, I was once advised by a former office holder (who shall remain nameless) that I could not stand for office as I was not a "senior scholar".

So here's my question:

How would you, if elected, go about making iHEA more relevant to its non-academic members, as a means of delivering more effectively on objectives 1 and 2 of its mission?

Look forward to hearing from you!


11/10/2017 at 10:37:19 AM GMT
Posts: -3
Hello Martin,

Thanks for the question. I’m not sure who told you not to stand, perhaps that was a little while ago, you would be encouraged to participate now I'm sure. iHEA is in the process of really changing and becoming a true international organisation, with members contributing at all levels in all ways. The new Executive Director Di McIntyre is working hard to ensure this along with the Board. Non academic members are integral to this - the current President works for the World Bank not a University, and I think, given the importance of the relationship between research and knowledge exchange and translation into practice, your questions pertains to the third part of the mission as well.

iHEA needs to have a number of core functions, offering forums and support for: academic excellence; education excellence; and for supporting development of leadership and knowledge exchange in health economics. Non academic health economists are key to these areas, and encouraging health economists more involved in policy and service delivery to be part of iHEA, on its committees, coming to conferences, and to new types of forums is critical.

Lots of members are not academics, and this is great, but how can iHEA build upon this great resource for everyones benefit? I think one important factor is the i in iHEA. Where is more interaction and support needed, and unavailable? What do health economists outside academia in low and middle income countries really need and want? How can iHEA help? One way forward may be to find out, iHEA needs to step out of its traditional heartlands (where it is successful and works well) and see who needs support to build health economics in areas beyond academia, and beyond developed countries.

So, this would be one of the first things I would want to do, and I have already started pushing for this on the Board of iHEA, and through my work on the Student Prize Committee. An important finding of the Strategic Review (iHEA 2020) was different communication, and higher quality debate, as well as different support for people who perhaps have none. Perhaps point (3) should be ‘Assist early career health economists’ not just young researchers.

We need to host meetings, perhaps smaller more targeted meetings in places iHEA has never been before, making it clear that interaction between academics and non academics is crucial - meetings need to have sessions which are not just presentations of research, but interaction between academics and others, and sessions led by those in NGOs, Government, the private and public sector. We need to learn from each other, it will benefit everyone. Including the early career health economists, and those who may be working in areas a little isolated at present. More involvement at all levels would benefit everyone.

I hope this helps Martin, thanks again.

Best wishes,

11/10/2017 at 10:37:40 AM GMT
Posts: -3
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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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