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News & Press: iHEA News

iHEA News - May 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020   (0 Comments)
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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.
President's Message

Dear iHEA members and colleagues,

We hope that you and your family are keeping safe and well in these trying times. First of all, let me thank you for your support and confidence in electing me as President of iHEA. 
The Board and I would like to share with you some of the priorities that we are developing in consultation with iHEA members for 2020-2021. First, we are committed to further internationalizing iHEA and its leadership, with an emphasis on growing the presence of scholars from low- and middle-income countries. Second, we want to make iHEA a robust platform for junior researchers, especially those from low- and middle-income countries. To that end, we are developing initiatives to strengthen both research and education capacities in health economics in low- and middle-income countries by fostering inter-institutional partnerships and global collaboration more generally. As a short-term goal, we aim to see more junior researchers from low- and middle-income countries presenting at the 2021 Congress. Third, we want to promote more academic debates, debates that apply cutting-edge economic theories and methods to relevant health policy questions. Stay tuned for more details, and do not be surprised if we come to you for ideas and help!
We remain greatly saddened by the passing of Adam Wagstaff, iHEA President for 2016-2017, on May 10, after a long battle with cancer. Under Adam's leadership, iHEA grew stronger than ever before. Adam transformed our governance structures to ensure gender and regional diversity in iHEA's leadership and improved our relationships with local and regional health economics associations. His contributions to the quality of the Congresses were wide-ranging, from the identification of experienced program chairs, to thoroughly vetting reviewers, and ensuring that reviewers were assigned according to their fields of expertise. His reforms, like grouping papers into coherent sessions and introducing Special Organized Sessions (SOSs), facilitated vibrant intellectual discourse and attracted the participation of leaders in the field. He also spear-headed the refinement of the Congress's evaluation, monitoring, and improvement functions, launched the Student Prize, and initiated a number of activities in between congresses that continue to promote lively and constructive exchange among iHEA members.
Personally, Adam has been a mentor, a collaborator, a colleague, and most important of all, a genuine friend. I have been inspired by his vision, scholarship, integrity, compassion, and commitment to improving the well-being of the most disadvantaged. I have been moved by his devotion to his family, to junior researchers, and to friends. Adam will be sorely missed, but he left behind a strong foundation on which to further his vision. As his successors, Adam's legacy motivates and enables our work each and every day.
We look forward to connecting and working with you!
With my very best wishes,
Winnie Yip
President, iHEA
In Memoriam
Adam Wagstaff
3 May 1959 -  10 May 2020

The health economics community has lost one of its giants. On Sunday 10 May 2020, one week after turning 61, Adam Wagstaff lost a long battle with cancer. He passed away at his home in Washington DC in the presence of his close relatives. 
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to observe the greater part of his career as a close colleague and friend. Adam, his wife Pierella and I met as graduate students in 1981 at the University of York -- the cradle of health economics in Europe. Already during our PhD trajectories, we had started work together but our collaboration intensified when Adam moved to the University of Sussex and we got EU funding to study equity in the finance and delivery of health care in Europe. We managed to assemble a group of young European researchers - many of them also trained at York - who were eager to investigate this topic.  Adam's lead generated many new ideas that resulted in a long series of papers in the 1990s - several so multi-authored that journal editors told us they were running out of candidate reviewers! We were invited to give a keynote at the first iHEA conference in 1996, where the late Alan Williams introduced us as Eddy and Adam Wagstaff! 
Adam and I often mused that we had exerted so much effort using a magnifying glass to measure inequities in European health systems while the inequities and inequalities glaring at us from other continents were so much greater. When the opportunity arose, Adam spread his wings and joined the World Bank, first as a lead economist and later as research manager. There he could not only continue contributing to research on development of methods and to building evidence on what works in terms of promoting more equitable health systems, but it was also much closer to policy making to be able to exert some influence on health care (financing) policies adopted across the globe. Much of his influential work on both methods and empirical evidence proved tremendously useful in organizing thinking about what Universal Health Coverage is, or should be, and for the development of tools to monitor of progress with UHC. He even called it "old wine in new bottles" on his blog.1
Adam's ability to design, execute and brilliantly write up research was exemplary. He was a very prolific author, with 28 articles published in Health Economics (see the special issue 2020*), another 24 in the Journal of Health Economics (see special issue 2020)-- most likely a record in the field -- and over a hundred publications in other high impact economics and health journals. And this despite spending much of his career outside academia, not only doing but also managing research and contributing to World Bank operations. If we know a lot more these days about what equity in health and health care means, how it can be measured, what policies promote it and which ones damage it, then we owe much of this knowledge to Adam's visionary lead. Pushing the frontiers of this highly policy relevant area did not stop him from contributing to other topics like the demand for health, the demand for and effects of  health insurance, and even the impact of publications through scientometrics. He was also a gifted and inspiring teacher who generously left a wealth of practical materials in the form of accessible techniques for analyzing health equity2, software  and data  to enable students and researchers to put them to good use. They can truly "stand on the shoulders" of this giant. 
Adam was not only an outstanding and hard-working scholar but also a caring husband and father, and a friend to many, who thoroughly enjoyed living a good life. He will truly be missed. His research has shaped decades of health economics, leaving a legacy that will influence the field for generations to come. 
Eddy van Doorslaer

* Please note that Wiley is making all papers in this virtual issue of Health Economics fully open access, but this will be for a limited time.

1 Wagstaff, A, Universal health coverage: Old wine in a new bottle? If so, is that so bad?, World Bank Blog Let's talk development, Feb 12, 2013.
2 "O'Donnell, O, E van Doorslaer, A Wagstaff, M Lindelöw. 2008. Analyzing Health Equity Using Household Survey Data : A Guide to Techniques and Their Implementation. Washington, DC: World Bank. 
Claude le Pen
17 February 1948 - 6 April 2020

Claude Le Pen passed away on April 6, 2020. He was professor of health economics at the university Paris-Dauphine for his whole career and was president of the French health economics association from 2002 to 2012. He deeply marked health economics in France, he was one of the few French scholars who managed to facilitate the recognition of health economics both in academia and institutions. As a specialist of health policy and health technology assessment, he actively contributed to the dissemination of health economics among policy makers, health professionals and pharmaceutical industries. The French health economics association owes him a lot. In 2018, he published in collaboration with Pierre Lévy (university Paris-Dauphine) a handbook on the concepts and methods in economic evaluation freely available online, which provided the francophone community of health economists with a key resource.
Abstract Book From 2019 Congress is Available Online
A searchable PDF copy of the 2019 Congress abstract book is now available online HERE.
Student Paper Prize
iHEA Student Paper Prize Winners Announced
The iHEA Student Prize is to recognize excellence by students in the field of health economics. It was first awarded in 1999 and biennially thereafter to coincide with the iHEA congress. As from 2017, there has been a standing Student Paper Prize committee to award this prize annually to the Masters or Doctoral student paper judged as best in the award year. Each year the Committee will consider a short list of submitted papers evaluated by all of the committee members using similar criteria to that of the long established Arrow Award.  This year, 34 papers from 14 countries were assessed by the Prize Committee. 

There was a tie for the 2020 First Prize, so we are awarding two prizes:


  • To Jill Furzer"ADHD Misidentification in school: Causes and mitigators".  The paper finds being young for grade, or male, generates some over assessment, with under assessment of the oldest in grade, especially females, driving the school starting age gap in identification.  Teacher special education mitigates these assessment errors.
  • And to William Schpero"The long run effect of medicaid on receipt of public assistance".  This paper examines the long-run effect of receiving Medicaid as a child on the receipt of means-tested public assistance in adulthood, finding that the increase in Medicaid eligibility in childhood was not associated with significant changes in receipt of medical, cash, or non-cash public assistance in later life. Subgroups exposed to the greatest increases in Medicaid eligibility exhibited later life decreases in non-cash assistance of 2 to 3 percentage points.
Honourable mentions go to the runners up, where we are also awarding two prizes: to Yangkeun Yun "Small scale rural water supply, typhoid eradication, and human capital development".  The paper, using the case of Korea in the 1960s, investigates the effects of small-scale water supply interventions on population health and human capital formation in the long term, and shows that eliminating early-life exposure to typhoid fever was beneficial to human capital formation.  And to Kevin Wood  "Health insurance reform and retirement: evidence from the affordable care act".  The paper estimates if the Affordable Care Act in the USA has led to an increase in retirement among older individuals who are utilizing the newly available coverage options as a substitute for employer-provided insurance, finding a decrease in labour force participation.
The prize winners will present their papers at a special session of the 2021 iHEA Congress.

Many thanks to all those who submitted papers for consideration, and to the Prize Committee for all their hard work. The next call for submissions will be issued later in 2020.

Student Prize Committee

Chairperson: Bruce Hollingsworth (Lancaster University, UK)
Tinna Asgeirsdottir (University of Iceland)
Monica Aswani (University of Alabama, USA)
Ronelle Burger (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
Laura Di Giorgio (World Bank)
Emma Frew (University of Birmingham, UK)
Toshiaki Iizuka (University of Tokyo, Japan)
Rowena Jacobs (York University, UK)
Veronica Lagos (Universidad de Chile)
Arturo Schweiger (Universidad Isalud, Argentina)
Peter Sivey (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)
Raf van Gestel (Erasmus University, Netherlands)
Dominika Wranik (Dalhousie University, Canada)

Monday, June 1st, 2020
8:00 AM ET - check your timezone online here
An Introduction to the Construction of Discrete Choice Experiments
Speaker: Deborah Street

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
8:00 AM ET - check your timezone online here
Estimating the costs of COVID-19: health systems, households and opportunity costs
Speaker: Anna Vassall

This webinar will have simultaneous translation from English to French, made possible by a grant from the IDRC | REGISTER
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

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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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