Written by Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor, Brown School and co-director of the Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy & Economics Research
More than 900 of the leading health economists in the world, members of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon), recently convened at St. Louis Union Station for their 12th annual national conference. The local host of this national event was the Center for Advancing Health Services Policy and Economics Research, part of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis.
The conference was a great success. Participants said they loved Union Station and were significantly impressed by its history and beauty. It was a great space for the conference. Over four days, the economists held dozens of sessions focused on cutting-edge topics relating to health economics, financing, access and quality of health care.
A highlight of the conference was an afternoon plenary session, which I organized and staffed called, “Advancing Local Health Equity, Academic and Community Engagement: A Perspective from St. Louis.” The session featured local panelists William Rodgers, III, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and director of its Institute for Economic Equity; Matifadza Hlatshwayo-Davis, MD, director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health; Maxine Clark , chief inspirator at The Delmar DivINe; and, Professor Darrell Gaskin, the William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor and director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
If the conference participants were going to come here to St. Louis and think about important issues such as health disparities and lack of access to medical care, I wanted them to really understand the situation here in St. Louis, as an example of the challenges facing urban areas in the U.S. We also discussed solutions for these challenges. I was told by many people how impressed they were by the speakers.
The American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in health economics research in the United States. ASHEcon provides a forum for emerging ideas and empirical results of health economics research. The major activity through which ASHEcon achieves its mission is conducting a meeting in the U.S.
Supported by the Institute for Public Health, the Institute for Clinical & Translational Sciences, and the Department of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, the mission of the Center for Advancing Health Services Policy and Economics Research is to improve health outcomes and equity through health services and economics research and policy translation.