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News & Press: iHEA News

iHEA News - August 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Natalie Hill
International Health Economics Association
iHEA News is the official newsletter of the International Health Economics Association.
Please note that this newsletter only contains summaries. To access a full version PDF of this newsletter, please click here.
Presidents Corner
One of the highlights of the 2019 iHEA congress was the hour when we gathered to pay tribute to Alan Maynard and Uwe Reinhardt. This was a beautiful convening of our community to gather and recognize not just intellectual but personal contribution. Each speaker shared stories of how they had been changed for good by associating with these remarkable men. Aristotelian essentialism says that "associating" makes an association what it is. Coming together the way we do every two years builds us, builds our field and changes us for good. As iHEA blasts into its third decade I am inspired at how our members embrace new ways to associate in between congresses though special interest groups, mentoring programs, and social link. If you missed out on the Basel Congress you can catch up on videos of highlights, but you can also login to find and connect with members on the directory and help iHEA do what it does best.
- David Bishai, iHEA President
Executive Update
Call for Board Nominations 
iHEA will hold elections in October-November for a new member of the Board of Directors and a President-Elect. For the coming four-year term for Board Directors, beginning January 1st 2020, there is one vacant board position as Director to be elected by the membership. The President-Elect, who serves a six-year term (two years as President-Elect, two years as President, and two years as Past-President), is to be elected by the membership from a slate of at least two candidates.

More details on the Board composition and changes over the last few year to improve iHEA governance can be found here and the iHEA Bylaws can be seen here.

Interested members of iHEA who are willing to contribute to the running and further development of the association are encouraged to express their interest by sending their CV and a letter of motivation, which should include information on how the nominee meets the iHEA Bylaws' criteria outlined below. The letter should indicate which of the positions the interest relates to (i.e. Director or President-Elect).
 Candidates for Director should be: 

         i.           an economist working on health and health care, and 

       ii.            an iHEA member for at least the previous 2 years.

 Candidates for President-Elect should: 

         i.           be an internationally known economist working on health and health care,

       ii.            be an iHEA member for at least the previous 5 years, who has made important contributions to iHEA by having served on the Board, a Board committee (such as the Arrow Award, Student Prize, Finance or similar committee) or congress local organizing committee,

      iii.            have networking skills and international connections, and 

     iv.             be willing to be an active president and build programs for iHEA.

Please send expression of interest to by September 26.  If you would like any further information, please contact the iHEA Executive Director at

In the first half of October, the Nominating Committee will review all expressions of interest and their recommendations will be considered by the iHEA Board.  All those who have expressed their interest will receive feedback from the Nominating Committee.  Candidates for election will be provided with an opportunity to prepare an election statement and related material that will be uploaded onto the iHEA website.  Opportunities to engage with the candidates will be provided in the first half of November and voting will take place between 18-27 November.

Congress News
Congress Recordings 
There are a variety of sessions that were livestreamed during the Congress, which can now be viewed on the iHEA Website. 
Student Paper Prize
The Student Prize winners from 2018 and 2019 were recognized at the iHEA Congress. Keep an eye out for the call for the next Student Prize, which will be coming in September! 

SIG News
Immunization Economics at Congress
As part of the 2019 iHEA biennial world congress in Basel, Switzerland, the Immunization Economics Special Interest Group (SIG) organized a pre-congress session on July 13-14. Over 126 participants attended the two-day session. Participants come from 73 institutions in 31 countries. Audience span from early career to seasoned researchers, EPI managers, policymakers, multinational organizations, and donors. Pre-congress materials, presentations, and photos are available at


41 posters were presented by community members at iHEA. The SIG also extended support to 13 poster submissions to mitigate their financial barrier and allow them (mostly from LMICs) to come to present their findings. Five “highest scoring” and six “best communication and design” posters were awarded. All presentation utilized the #betterposter template. Survey results indicate that the overwhelming majority of presenters and attendees prefers the #betterposter design due to its improved learning and dissemination experience.

We thank our collaborators for co-organizing the Immunization Economics pre-congress session:

  • Johns Hopkins University (Decades of Vaccine Economics, Teaching Vaccine Economics Everywhere), 

  • Results for Development (Learning Network for Countries in Transition), 

  • ThinkWell (Immunization Costing Action Network), 

  • Harvard University (Value of Vaccination Research Network, Expanded Program on Immunization Costing, 

  • LSHTM (Mark Jit)

We also thank the iHEA governing committee, the local organizing committee, and the University of Basel for the tireless support and for creating a platform that allows the Special Interest Group to thrive. Financial support for the pre-congress is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For further information, please email SIG convener Christian Suharlim (


Financing for Universal Health Coverage
Our SIG welcomed the opportunity to co-host a pre-congress session with the World Health Organization on 'Financing for Universal Health Coverage: Driving System Change through Strategic Purchasing'. Joe Kutzin and Winnie Yip led the session with presentations from Egypt, Estonia, Kenya, Thailand and China. In the session we learnt about how these different countries are using strategic purchasing to leverage delivery system change especially in the primary care setting, the effect of fragmented financing and mixed payment on the effectiveness of strategic purchasing, and the impact of different governance arrangements on strategic purchasing. Special thanks to Triin Habicht, Ahmed Khalifa, Somsak Chunharas, Rahab Mbau for their excellent presentations and to our moderators Kara Hanson, Matthew Jowett and Loraine Hawkins for inspiring much discussion and debate. Finally, thank you to all those who came along and please keep a close eye on upcoming webinars for our SIG as we intend to garner more country level experiences with strategic purchasing as well as many other financing reforms. We hope our SIG continues to provide a forum for important cross-country learning on the path to universal health coverage.
Early Career Researchers Events at Basel Congress

Of the great selection of events at the iHEA congress in Basel, two were in particular organized by and for early career researchers. The first iHEA early career researcher (ECR) pre-congress session took place on Saturday, the 13th of July, in two parallel afternoon sessions. To participate in this event, 12 papers had been selected from a total of 46 submitted abstracts via a peer-review process. The global characteristic of iHEA was reflected by the various origins of the selected papers: The USA, Switzerland, The UK, South-Africa, Japan, Australia and Finland. The format of the sessions was such that each of the 12 papers was allocated a 45-minute slot where an experienced researcher presented the paper and gave the author/s constructive feedback and advice on how to improve the paper, followed by a general discussion about the paper with participation from the audience.

We found that the discussants gave insightful comments and their guidance was generally very practical and helpful for the ECRs attending the sessions, who have commented that this session format is a great approach that gives an opportunity to learn a lot more than in a shorter time slots. The comments from the discussants covered a broad range, e.g. from how to construct the beginning sentences of a paper so as it reflects the main content and contribution of the work - to where to place the research for publication. Around 120 people attended the parallel sessions and an additional 80 people signed up for the post-meeting drinks and snacks. 


The winner of a special prize for the ECR pre-congress session; the paper with the greatest potential to contribute to the health economics literature was Véra Zabrodina, from University of Basel, for the paper: “A Moneymaking Scan: Dual Reimbursement Systems and Supplier-Induced Demand for Diagnostic Imaging”. This prize has been generously provided by the editors of Health Economics and the publishers of this journal, Wiley and includes: The offer of potential fast track publication in Health Economics, subject to peer-review and Editorial approval, books to the value of USD 150 from the Wiley catalogue and a one-year online subscription to Health Economics.


Another event that was organized by and for ECRs was the mentoring lunch which took place on Monday, the 15th of July. A total of 40 mentors met with three mentees at a time in three 20 minute slots, with 120 mentees receiving advice and feedback from more experienced professionals in health economics. This event was introduced at the Boston congress in 2017 and was very well received then as well as this time. The format is such that mentees sign up for the event in advance, show up at 12 noon, grab their lunch bag and sit down at their first allocated table, ask some questions and listen to questions from their peers and participate in discussions on a broad range of topics regarding career advancement, research, study, publications, work-life balance, post-doctoral fellowships etc. This is definitely a great learning experience where participants engage with numerous colleagues, peers and mentors, in an international and informal setting for 90 minutes – a unique experience for iHEA members. For those two events to take place, we rely on the contribution of many of the experienced health economists from the membership-pool of iHEA. Thanks again! And to all the ECRs that participated in these events we hope to see you again in Cape Town! The ECR-special interest group welcomes all new members! 

James Buchanan

Giulia Greco

Tiara Marthias

Angela Micah

Thorhildur Ólafsdóttir

University Member News
Become a University Member to Access Additional Member Benefits!
In the last year, iHEA made changes to its University Membership structure and benefits. In addition to various congress-related benefits, university members' training programs are featured on a dedicated page on the iHEA website, feature articles on university members will be published in the monthly newsletter and university members are entitled to advertise employment and postdoctoral fellowship opportunities on the iHEA job board and Twitter account at no cost.

To learn more about University Membership benefits, please click here.

iHEA Webinars
EFFSIG Webinar
Another take on the efficiency question? Wasteful spending on health -insights from OECD countries

Friday, September 27, 2019

Another take on the efficiency question? Wasteful spending on health -- insights from OECD countries
Speaker: Agnès Couffinhal, PhD. Senior Economist, Health, Nutrition and Population division, The World Bank
In countries of the OECD and beyond, a significant share of health spending is at best ineffective and at worst wasteful. Wasteful spending occurs on services and processes that are either harmful or do not deliver benefits to patients and when costs are incurred that could be avoided by substituting cheaper alternatives with identical or better benefits. 

Health Financing Webinar
Assessing country progress in health financing: a qualitative approach

Friday, October 4th, 7:00 AM ET

Objectives of the webinar:
  • To introduce a systematic qualitative approach to assessing country progress in health financing
  • To understand early efforts, lessons, and results of country implementation
Speakers: Matthew Jowett, Soonman Kwon 

Career Center 
The iHEA Career Center allows you to post your job openings and fellowships, find potential candidates and search new positions. It is open to members and non-members alike. You are able to search by Keyword, Country, Organization, Job category and more. We encourage everyone to click here to view this wonderful resource. We do hope that you utilize this tool and should you have any questions, please reach out to

Stay Connected
Please click here to access the SocialLink user guide. We hope that this guide will give members a better idea on how they can best use SocialLink, our member community and networking app, to connect with other members and engage with our Special Interest Groups. We will continue to build out the FAQ section of SocialLink, but if you have any questions please reach out to us at
If you have anything you would like to contribute to future newsletters, please email us at

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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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