'Establishing a Hub for Health Economics and Health Studies in Russia': Interview with Christopher Gerry
On June 15 the new international laboratory, Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy, was opened at HSE in St. Petersburg. The Head of the laboratory Christopher Gerry tells us about the laboratory, its plans and prospects.
— Tell us about the research team of the laboratory?
— This is a very exciting development for HSE St. Petersburg! The new health economics laboratory is known as CHEMP (Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy) and is already active through social media (@chemp_hse on twitter) and will soon be launching a website with a regular policy blog – so watch this space!
Our team is a genuinely international, multidisciplinary team incorporating exciting health specialists at the start of their careers as well as those with decades of experience operating on the global stage. We have a strong Russian core, complemented by brilliant scholars from Germany, UK, Sweden, Greece and the United States. We have economists, sociologists, epidemiologists and political scientists from some of the leading international institutions and will build an exciting set of affiliate CHEMP members from across the globe. We also have a first-class management team at CHEMP that will ensure we achieve our ambitions.
The International advisor for CHEMP is Professor Paul Kind. A world-leading specialist in Health Outcome Measurement, he has over 3 decades of experience in developing and applying methods designed to measure health status in both clinical and economic evaluation. He is a founder member and past-President of the EuroQoL Group, a multinational research cooperative responsible for the development of EQ-5D, and currently serves as a member of its Scientific Executive. This is a vital area of expertise, which Russia currently lacks.
There is much more to us than this though! Our website will include profiles of all of the members of CHEMP and hopefully we can come back with a follow-up interview as and when CHEMP is more practically launched.
— What is the main goal of the laboratory?
— The main goal of CHEMP is to develop a sustainable international profile in Health Economics and to continue to promote the vital (but very new) science of health economics in Russia.Our programme of activity will address issues which affect the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, populations and societies and will produce advances to knowledge, policy relevant findings and training in the theory and method of health economics, for both practitioners and scholars.
Ultimately, we want CHEMP to become an established hub for health economics and health studies in Russia, while also achieving international recognition through its research activities, training programmes and other outputs. It is ambitious but we are confident that we can deliver.
— Please describe your plans for the fall 2015?
— In the next few months we will work fiendishly to establish the essential infrastructure for CHEMP (website, social media, offices etc), to recruit postgraduate and undergraduate students to contribute to the work of the Centre, to start work in our 5 main work themes and to hold two launch events. One internal event based largely around student recruitment, on September 2, and a more outward looking event on October 29/30 involving the majority of our members.
— What are the five main research themes which you refer to?
— We will be developing multidisciplinary, policy relevant and internationally oriented work in these 5 important domains: (i) Health Outcome Measurement; (ii) Economics of Health Behaviours, Reforms and Policy; (iii) Chronic diseases in Russia; (iv) Economics of Ageing; and (v) Mental Health.
— How do you plan to cooperate with the other HSE campuses (joint conferences, seminars, research projects, grant applications)?
— We are of course very keen to cooperate with the other HSE campuses. There are a number of faculty from the Moscow campus involved in CHEMP research from the start and one of our priorities is to develop joint research grant applications, joint events, and possibly joint educational programmes, with colleagues from our partner campuses. This is a particularly appealing and important dimension of CHEMP.
— How do you see the prospects of the laboratory?
— Health economics is a very new area in Russia, but there are important pockets in Moscow, St. Petersburg and in Ekaterinburg. We believe that CHEMP offers a unique opportunity to unite and internationalize this emerging body of education and research and in particular to seek to integrate it within the public health sector, in the way that it now increasingly is in Europe and North America.
If we can begin to achieve some of our goals, then our research can contribute to the international health economics literature; our educational initiatives can help modernize training in health economics; our multidisciplinary approach can seek to integrate economics, social science and epidemiological approaches with those of the medical sphere; and our social media and knowledge exchange programmes can ensure that we impact on policy making and on people’s lives.
HSE University has announced the winners of the Project Competition in Basic Science Research for Intercampus Departments. The competition, which the university is organising for the first time, will provide funding to 10 research teams working on five topics. Four of the winning projects will be implemented by new research departments formed as a result of the competition.
An international group of scientists and medical specialists, including HSE researchers, examined the role played by microRNA (miRNA) and long non-coding RNAs on the progression of ovarian cancer. Having analysed more than a hundred tumour samples, they found that miRNA can prevent cell mutation while long non-coding RNAs have the opposite effect of enabling such mutations. These findings can help design new drugs which act by regulating miRNA concentrations. The study was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
In early September, the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science hosted the international conference Computer Methods of Cognitome Analysis. The event was organised by the International Laboratory of Algebraic Topology and Its Applications at the faculty.
Researchers of the HSE University and the Southern Federal University (SFedU) have tested a new method for studying the perception of facial emotional expressions. They suggest that asking subjects to recognise emotional expressions from dynamic video clips rather than static photographs can improve the accuracy of findings, eg in psychiatric and neurological studies. The paper is published in Applied Sciences.
Academics’ work week became even longer during the pandemic. This is true of researchers from different countries, independently of their gender and specialisation, an international research team with HSE University participation found. Their working time during the pandemic was 51 hours compared to the usual 40. The increased number of working hours per week seems to have become part of the new academic norm. The results of the study were published in the Plos One journal.
Researchers of the HSE International Laboratory of Statistical and Computational Genomics together with their international colleagues have proposed a new statistical method for analysing population admixture that makes it possible to determine the time and number of migration waves more accurately. The history of Colombians and Mexicans (descendants of Native Americans, Spaniards and Africans) features two episodes of admixture that occurred about 350 and 200 years ago for Mexicans and 400 and 100 years ago for Colombians. The results were published in the Plos Genetics journal.
Scholars from Moscow and Vladivostok Join Efforts to Study Institutes and Preferences in Economic Behaviour
Applications from HSE departments for the ‘Mirror Laboratories’ open project competition are open until May 20. One of the ‘mirror laboratories’ successfully operating today was created as a result of a similar competition in 2020 by economists from HSE University and Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) to study institutes and preferences in economic behaviour. Alexis Belianin, Head of the HSE International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics, talked about how peers from Moscow and Vladivostok collaborate.
Psychologists from HSE University have joined their peers from Ekaterinburg to look into the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of Russian doctors. They found that medical staff are suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression more often than before. The results of the study were published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The laboratory will be led by Robert Sandlersky, a specialist in energy and mass transfer and the study of other properties of landscapes via satellite imagery and Senior Research Fellow at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The HSE News Service spoke to Robert about the laboratory’s future activities.
HSE University has launched a new International Laboratory for the Study and Assessment of Dangerous Geophysical Phenomena. Alexander Kostinskiy, Head of the Laboratory and Deputy Director of HSE MIEM, explains the laboratory’s future work, its important research and practical applications, and the role of international cooperation in the new laboratory.