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Remembering Jim Burgess


Jim Burgess passed away on Monday, June 26th.  Jim was well known to many for his contribution to establishing electronic Health Economics Letters (eHEL), serving as the iHEA Treasurer from 2005 to 2015 and being the driving force behind the 12th iHEA World Congress in Boston. We are deeply saddened that Jim did not see the fruits of his efforts over the past few years in leading the Local Organizing Committee for this congress.

A celebration of Jim's life was held during the Congress, where some of Jim's friends and colleagues were able to speak about the impact that he had on them. Below are some photos from the memorial service that was held, as well as memories that were shared from those who could not attend.


Kathleen Carey


"Jim Burgess was a motivating force for iHEA long before the planning of the Boston 2017 Congress - Indeed Jim was one of the original founders who supported the idea and encouraged others to support the effort that created iHEA in 1994. His service and his friendship will be sorely missed by myself and the many others who joined to create iHEA, and kept it going for more than 20 years."


- Tom Getzen


"I knew Jim for many years, perhaps as many as 30. We progressed from young, eager, wet-behind-the-ears researchers to old graybeards (literally). The one quality Jim had that was truly enduring was his cheerfulness and positivity. Jim really enjoyed engaging with people, and particularly about economics. He would discuss and debate intensely, but joyously. Jim also cared deeply about supporting and advancing new scholarship and the field of health economics generally. His unique blend of serious scholarship, enthusiasm, and good humor will be deeply missed."

- Martin Gaynor


Michal Horný

Adam Wagstaff


"Jim was a colleague of immense integrity, which I experienced when we were Associate Editors of Health Economics, with Jim instigating Letters. Actually, under his guidance, I published the very first Health Economics Letter. More recently, I spent time with Jim when visiting Boston. This merely confirmed my view of him as an innovator and just an all-round warm and generous colleague."


- Cam Donaldson


"My memories of Jim are from my time on the Finance Committee. With politeness and charm Jim sought to negotiate a very difficult dialogue between the Finance Committee and the then Chief Executive of iHEA. Jim sought to avoid, and, where he could not, to mediate conflict. Though we had some forthright discussions on the committee throughout Jim was never anything other than the most charming person. Everyone on the committee had the greatest respect and affection for Jim; he was a very affable and likeable person. He will be greatly missed."


- Bob Elliot


Randy Ellis

Allen Goodman


"In preparing for the Boston meetings Jim said, “We’ll do a whole day of Teaching Health Economics (THE) – Allen, make it happen!”  Those who attended yesterday’s pre-congress sessions will speak to our success.  We did it!  Only Jim was missing.

Jim Burgess was a fine economist, a dedicated servant of, and steward to, the field of health economics, and particularly the THE effort. All of us will miss him terribly."

- Allen Goodman

"All social and professional networks need individuals who catalyse and represent the driving force of the network. They enable sharing of information and ideas, creating a truly collective effort that is often larger than the contributions to which most individuals can aspire. He gave so much. Thank you and blessed passing."


- Nicole Valentine


"Jim was such a dynamic and positive force in the field of health economics.  I remember many times when he was in the audience and I was presenting research in an area that he was very familiar with.  His comments were always insightful and constructive.  He also was one to approach you with a gracious smile after a presentation to express interest and provide encouragement.  What a big loss for the field and for his close family, friends, and colleagues."


- Gloria J. Bazzoli


Joanne Spetz

Ciaran Phibbs


I first met Jim at the annual health economics gathering that the VA sponsored when it was in Ann Arbor in the late spring or summer of 1995.  He was funny, challenging, welcoming, and just plain helpful. I met him in person several other times over the years. There was a conference in Newport at which we crossed paths several times.  He would ask about my work.  He would continue to challenge on where it was going.  He would kindly nudge and offer advice.  And the smile was always there.  The collegiality was incredibly strong.  Never a competition.  Always just an exchange.  He made being a young health economist in the late 1990’s a wonderful experience.  And while my work and his drifted apart, he was always encouraging of success.  To have someone who could mentor and offer his time and thoughts so generously was an incredible asset.  He set the bar high for those around him who want to continue to build the field of health economics and not simply their own careers or own programs. 


- Kevin Frick


"I recall so well his generous offer to organize the 2017 iHEA Congress in Boston, full well knowing what a heavy labor of love that is. I so wish he could have witnessed the fruit of his labor this coming week.

From my years on the iHEA Board and as President of IHEA, I remember Jim as our trusted Treasurer and good personal friend. Jim was a man of great integrity, which is so important in a CFO, and he was always with us at Board meetings and other gatherings.

I also recall his fine lectures on empirical applications of envelope theory in production, which he actually used to advise government on how to measure the efficiency of hospitals.

Many of the younger members of iHEA will not have had occasion to know Jim personally as some of us do; but take our word on it: he was a fine colleague and generous friend, and he will be sorely missed by us.  He will live on in our memories."


- Uwe Reinhardt

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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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