There is not only a need to increase the number of health economists being trained, but also to ensure that course content is of high quality and relevant to address health system needs.
Apart from the larger health economics academic groups, many health economics educators work in relative isolation, sometimes as the only health economist in their institutions. In such contexts, educators have limited access to peer support to help guide content design, assessment procedures, and examples of teaching exercises that help to enhance the student and educator journey. Again, this is particularly the case in LMICs, where health economics educators are not only faced with lack of peer support but also often work within institutions where funding to support the teaching infrastructure is limited.
What is the Teaching Health Economics Special Interest Group (THE SIG)?
The THE SIG provides a mechanism for developing a global community of health economics educators who collaborate to promote quality health economics training and to support one another in this endeavor. The benefits of a formal global community of health economics educators are two-fold: first, sharing teaching resources will enhance the delivery of health economics teaching and consequently the student-teacher journey; and second, acting as a supportive network to encourage those skilled in health economics to become active educators will boost teaching capacity yet further.
THE SIG objectives and activities
The aim of the THE SIG is to increase capacity for and the quality of health economics education globally through fostering a collaborative community of health economics educators.
The specific objectives are to:
- Support the development of a curated repository of health economics training material that is regularly updated and accessible on the iHEA website;
- Provide a platform for engagement between health economics educators; and
- Host pre-congress and organized sessions at iHEA congresses, and at the biennial conferences of regional health economics associations in collaboration with these associations.
Initially, our activities to achieve the above objectives will include:
1. Developing a repository of health economics training materials through:
- Compiling an inventory of training materials already available on the internet
- Designing a webpage with appropriate categorization of materials
- Developing guidelines for selection of material to include in repository
- Actively advocating for health economics educators to share their training material on a Creative Commons basis
- Reviewing and uploading relevant material, establishing links to material on other sites, making the availability of these resources known and encouraging their use
2. Actively using the SocialLink platform for networking between health economics educators, to connect individuals with common interests and to facilitate linking individuals with specific requests and those willing to assist. Facilitated networking between health economics educators that are envisaged include:
- Connecting educators interested in setting up collaborative projects / course assignments between faculty and students in different institutions and countries to enhance mutual learning;
- Facilitating visiting lectures (e.g. linking up health economists who are travelling to other countries with institutions offering health economics courses so that one or more visiting lectures can be provided);
- Identifying co-supervisors for PhD students, particularly where the student is undertaking research in a country other than that in which they are registered;
- Identifying examiners for postgraduate dissertations/theses;
- Identifying placements for students at other institutions (e.g. some institutions require their students to undertake their dissertation research based in another institution); and
- Connecting academics initiating new health economics training programs with experienced course convenors (e.g. to provide advice and to critically review draft module outlines/curricula, reading lists, etc.).
3. Organizing pre-congress sessions at each iHEA congress, and regional health economics association conferences, which could take a range of different forms, such as presentations on innovative new training methods and materials, or a training workshop to build capacity in case study material development.
4. Facilitating the submission of organized session proposals for the iHEA congress to highlight the importance of quality health economics training to a broader range of health economists.
Joining the THE SIG
THE SIG membership is open to all iHEA members who are interested in health economics education.
Membership can be requested by logging in to the iHEA website, selecting the "groups" section and clicking "request to join" the THE SIG. Membership will then be approved by the conveners of the SIG.
Conveners: Heather Brown (Newcastle University), Allen Goodman (Wayne State University), Di McIntyre (University of Cape Town), Maia Platt (University of Detroit Mercy) and Elizabeth Seidler (Regis College).