PhD Concentration in Health Economics & Policy
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The concentration in Health Economics and Policy prepares doctoral students for conducting innovative and rigorous research on the economics of health and healthcare.
Health economics is a field of study that applies the theoretical concepts and empirical methods of economic analysis to various issues throughout the health sector, ranging from understanding underlying patient, provider and insurer behaviors to evaluating various healthcare interventions.
The curriculum stresses a solid grounding in applied modern microeconomic theory, economic evaluation, quantitative methods and econometrics applications, including PhD-level courses from the Department of Economics in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. The curriculum offers a broad exposure to the health economics literature and public health disciplines, and stresses the policy implications of these fields of research. Student research generally focuses on econometric analyses of hypotheses generated by economic theory or quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of various interventions.
Lauren Nicholas, PhD
The competencies for the concentration in Health Economics and Policy are met through required and elective coursework, independent research, and the process of writing a thesis. Upon successful completion of the concentration, students will have mastered the following concentration competencies; specifically students by the end of the program will have the ability to:
Health Economics and Policy Concentration Competencies
- Apply key concepts in microeconomic theory, including how the behavior of individual households and firms affects the market supply and demand of goods and services and how market failures arise under certain circumstances.
- Analyze key theoretical concepts in health economics, including the underlying determinants of health, patient demand for healthcare services, and the organization and financing of healthcare services, with an emphasis on critiquing the effects of alternative forms of financing and organizing healthcare services on cost, quality, access and overall public health.
- Apply key concepts in applied econometrics, including both sophisticated empirical models for healthcare utilization, expenditures, and health outcomes and various rigorous empirical approaches that emphasize causal inferences for policy analysis.
- Apply key concepts in economic evaluation, including both (a) traditional frameworks for cost-effectiveness analyses which emphasize cost/QALY measurement and incorporate uncertainty and (b) more recent stated-preference estimation methods framework that often incorporate discrete choice experiments.
- Conduct original research in the field of health economics, ranging from conception of innovative ideas through study design, selection and application of appropriate analytic methods and data; interpretation of results; and both written and oral dissemination of findings.
Department-wide PhD Competencies
- Analyze the nature, scope, and determinants of major health policy problems by applying conceptual frameworks from key academic disciplines, formulating testable hypotheses, and identifying appropriate interventions based on an understanding of the existing evidence base.
- Critique the policymaking process, including the underlying roles of legislation, regulation, litigation, and advocacy; the differences between federal, state and local policies; and the influence of academic research in the policy formulation and evaluation processes.
- Assess the organization and financing of both public health and medical services and critique their impact on access and use, quality of care, costs, and outcomes.
- Apply appropriate rigorous empirical methods to the evaluation of health policy, including a well-rounded foundation of the methods and tools of public health, such as biostatistics, epidemiology, and survey design.
- Communicate scientific findings effectively through written and oral methods to technical and lay audiences, demonstrating an ability to interpret study results in light of study limitation and prior research.
- Conduct research in accordance with the highest ethical standards, scientific integrity, and interpersonal collegiality.
Summer Term Workshops
550.860.82 Academic & Research Ethics
xxx.xxx.xx Introduction to Online Learning
xxx.xxx.xx Title IX and Harassment Prevention Training for Students
140.651.01 - 140.654.01 Methods in Biostatistics I - IV
180.600.01 General Equilibrium Theory (KSAS)
180.601.01 Consumer and Producer Theory (KSAS)
180.602.01 Microeconomic Theory (KSAS) (Terms 1-4)
180.616.01 Mathematical Methods: Dynamic Optimization (KSAS) (Terms 1-2)
221.644.01 Econometric Methods for Evaluation of Health Programs
300.721.01-300.724.01 Foundations in Health Policy I-IV
300.713.01 - 300.715.01 Research and Evaluation Methods for Health Policy I - II
xxx.xxx.xx Elective (Terms 1-4)
Note: In addition to meeting the requirement for Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by the department, students in the health economics concentration must complete the first-year KSAS Microeconomics sequence with a minimum grade of "B".
300.741.01 PhD Seminar in Health Policy: Using Secondary Data to Conduct Health Policy Research
300.870.01 - 300.871.01 Research and Proposal Writing I - II
306.665.01 Research Ethics and Integrity
309.720.01 Applied Econometrics for Health Policy Research
313.653.01 - 313.656.01 Microeconomic Models in Public Health I - IV
340.721.60 Epidemiologic Inference in Public Health
550.865.81 Public Health Perspectives on Research
xxx.xxx.xx Electives (Terms 1-4)
Electives must include at least one PhD-level KSAS economics field course.
*Students should choose electives in consultation with the Concentration Director and their academic advisor to ensure adequate preparation for departmental exams.
Note: All students are encouraged to choose from the following courses for their elective options:
Health Economics Courses:
221.617 Behavioral Economics in Health Decisions
221.652 Health Financing in Low and Middle Income Countries
380.756 Poverty, Economic Development, and Health
Applied Economics Courses:
180.611 Decision Theory (KSAS)
180.618 Game Theory (KSAS)
180.632 Topics in Applied Microeconometrics (KSAS)
180.651 Labor Economics (KSAS)
180.671 Industrial Organization I (KSAS)
180.694 Applied Microeconomics Workshop (KSAS)
Outcomes and Evaluation Courses:
309.712 Assessing Health Status and Outcomes
311.615 Quality of Medical Care
340.606 Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis
340.620 Principles of Clinical Epidemiology
340.722 Epidemiologic Inference in Public Health II
140.641 Survival Analysis
140.655 Analysis of Longitudinal Data
140.656 Multilevel Statistical Models in Public Health
140.664 Causal Inference in Medicine and Public Health I
140.665 Causal Inference in Medicine and Public Health II
Once students have completed all of the required and elective coursework, they must maintain a full-time registration (12+ credits per term) for the duration of their program. Students who have not yet passed the school-wide oral exam should register for 12 credits of special studies (300.840) with their advisor to work on their thesis proposal; once a student has passed the school-wide oral exam, they should register for thesis research credits, 301.820.
Below is a list of recent graduates’ current positions and dissertation titles for the PhD Concentration in Health Economics and Policy.
|Graduate Name||Current Position||Dissertation Title|
|Trevor Ellison (2015)||Cardiothoracic Fellow: Johns Hopkins Hospital||Economic evaluation in kidney transplantation|
|Eric Roberts (2015)||Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Health Policy and Management||Essays on markets for primary care services for medicaid adults|
|Susan Yeh (2015)||Principal Analyst: Congressional Budget Office Division of Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis||Essays on the federal financing of the Medicaid and Medicare programs|
|Christine Buttorff (2014)||Associate Policy Research: RAND Corporation||The impact of a value-based insurance design on those with multiple chronic conditions|
|Fred Selck (2013)||Senior Economist: Bates White||Essays on physician behavior|
|Chuck Shih (2013)||Associate Director of Healthcare Reform & Public Policy: Biogen||Preferences for EQ-5D health states and experienced health states in the US general population: The impact of framing and current health on values|
|Erin Trish (2013)||Assistant Research Professor: University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy||Essays on competition in US private health insurance markets|
|Megan O’Brien (2009)||Executive Director: Merck||Impact of prescription drug insurance on health care utilization and expenditures among elderly medicare beneficiaries with depression|
|Bianca Frogner (2008)||Deputy Director of Primary Care Innovation Lab (PCI-Lab): University of Washington||Long-run modeling of health care expenditure growth in industrialized countries|
|Gretchen Jacobson (2008)||Associate Director for Medicare Policy: Kaiser Family Foundation||The return on investing additional tax dollars into the National Institutes of Health: A case study examining whether NIH funding correlates with increased phase I testing of new pharmaceuticals|
|Omar Galarraga (2007)||Associate Professor: Brown University School of Public Health||The effect of antidepressants on the labor market outcomes of HIV-infected persons using highly active antiretroviral therapy in the United States: 1996-2004|