Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy Marks Two Years
Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy - or CHEMP, as it is known - was launched two years ago. Today CHEMP offers a unique opportunity to unite and internationalize the emerging body of education and research in the field of health studies. CHEMP’s Director Professor Christopher Gerry, Chair of Internationalisation Steering Group and Academic Adviser to Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at HSE St. Petersburg, provides an update on the Centre’s activities and achievements.
A Hub for Health Economics and Health Studies
Starting this health economics initiative in Russia - a country with no foundation in or history of health economics - was hugely ambitious but important for the development of the health care system and the understanding of health outcomes in Russia. During our 20 months we have been very active in 5 important domains: Health Outcome Measurement; Economics of Health Behaviours, Reforms and Policy; Chronic diseases in Russia; Economics of Ageing; and Mental Health. Our work and activities embrace the disciplines and methodologies of economics, econometrics, public health, social epidemiology, medical sociology and political science. We have multidisciplinary objectives and vision.
We are extremely proud of our achievements so far and have surpassed our expectations in many ways. So far we have 13 CHEMP publications, of which 8 are in Scopus journals. We have a further 8 publications under review or being revised and between 10 and 20 due for submission in the next 6- 8 months. This is remarkable by any standards. We have also held two CHEMP masterclasses, Russia's first two English language summer schools in Health Technology Assessment, five international conferences on topics ranging from ageing, to mental health to health technology assessment and to health econometrics. Besides, we have launched a CHEMP monthly seminar series and have given numerous talks in seminars and conferences in Russia and across the world.
Growing interest in Health Economics and Public Health augurs well for Russia's future development, especially (maybe only) if the university sector can continue to support the development of this area
In the sphere of student engagement, we have been overwhelmed by the reaction of students to the introduction of health economics at HSE. This growing interest in Health Economics and Public Health augurs well for Russia's future development, especially (maybe only) if the university sector can continue to support the development of this area. We have employed around 15 student research interns, some of whom are now working on advanced publications. We have also offered internships to around 10 HSE students, whose input and contribution has been invaluable. Recently seven final year Bachelor’s students defended their theses on the following topics, supervised by CHEMP: Health and Retirement; Mental Health Economics; Weather and health in Russia; Price regulation of essential medicines; Environmental pollution and health; Working conditions and health; Education and health. All papers presented were of excellent quality.
Finally, we have formed important local partnerships with the Almazov Centre, the Bekhterev Clinic and with the Centre of Healthcare Quality Assessment and Control in Moscow.
Development of Health Economics in Russia
Our initial ambitious plans were refined a little bit since CHEMP started . Nobody had quite appreciated how little health economics actually exists in Russia. CHEMP has therefore started to place more emphasis on contributing a health economics dimension to the HSE curriculum. We are collaborating more with colleagues at HSE Moscow who have developed a very exciting Master’s programme in Health Care Administration and Economy and are nurturing young talented Russians to become the first generation of real health economists in Russia. We work with the Russian health economists that live and have been trained overseas and develop research strands that are both publishable in leading international journals and that speak directly to the public policy discussions taking place in Russia.
We aim to secure both funding and young talented Russian personnel that will enable us to continue to build on this exciting beginning and ultimately to make a difference to Russian Public Health, while contributing to international science
Recently, we took part at the RLMS-HSE User conference that was held this year. CHEMP authors were involved in 5 out of the 11 health related papers presented. I have been a user of these RLMS data since the start of my PhD in 1998 and had my first RLMS publication back in 2002. The RLMS data are internationally recognized and are valuable to understanding the social and economic space in Russia, including as those relate specifically to health. To some extent these data compensate for the lack of other reliable health data in Russia that other European countries benefit from. I hope that this doesn't stop the progress in making more and different Russian data available as time goes by. Hopefully this will start to happen and when it does it will be easier for Russian scholars and practitioners to engage with the international scholarly and practitioner community and for public policies to be more effectively designed.
Apart from consolidating our publications into three broader areas, Health Outcomes/HTA; Health Econometrics; and Qualitative Studies, and holding a third summer school and multiple research events, 2017-18 is really concentrated on two ideas. First, we will be collecting data and conducting policy relevant research that can help add to our global footprint, while also having an impact within Russia. To this end, we are collecting and analyzing data related to EQ-5D (a standardized instrument for measuring generic health status) in the mental health sphere, as well as data on adherence to medication in cardiovascular diseases and on attitudes to smoking. Second, we aim to secure both funding and young talented Russian personnel that will enable us to continue to build on this exciting beginning and ultimately to make a difference to Russian Public Health, while contributing to international science. For me, it has been a privilege to try to launch this health economics initiative in Russia and to work with some great young Russian scholars as well as with experienced international faculty. The level of enthusiasm has matched the obvious need for Centre's like CHEMP in Russia.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
HSE University economists have found that more than 60% of Russians rely on self-treatment instead of visiting a doctor, something which is facilitated by the easy availability of medicines in Russian pharmacies. This is especially typical for mild illnesses. Buying medicines depends on income, and quite often people replace expensive medicines with cheaper ones. The article was published in the International Journal of Health Economics and Management.
In recent years in Russia, female smoking has increased, while the opposite holds true for men; in addition to this, smoking has increased at higher rates among those with lower levels of education compared to more educated Russians.
The workshop on 'Health Economics in Russia: past, present and future?' was hosted by the International Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy (CHEMP) of HSE Saint Petersburg on March 21, 2016 within the International Spatial Development Forum.