Conference Participant Guidelines

These guidelines are for all conference participants (presenters, session chairs and discussants) to establish expectations. In order to encourage interdisciplinary discussion among conference participants and audience members, we want to encourage:

  • Interaction among session participants beforehand to maximize audience participation on the day of the session.
  • Distillation of the research, by the discussants, to identify its unique contribution to health economics.
  • Identification of relationships among the research presented, either by the presenters themselves or by the discussants.
  • Give and take among participants—especially between researchers and practitioners.
  • Creation of an environment to enhance understanding of issues and the attendant research informing them.

As you prepare for your session at the conference, please note the below:

  • Please allow a full 15 minutes for audience questions and commentary. This 15-minute period is separate from the time normally accorded to panelists responding to the discussant’s comments.
  • Each presentation in an organized session should last no longer than 18 minutes including discussants getting about 7 minutes per paper (Note that you will lose a minute between each paper as people change seats and move to the podium).
  • If discussants are handling more than one paper, the time limits should be adjusted accordingly, and the session participants should be consulted ahead of the conference.
  • To keep presenters on time, chairs should do a time check with 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 2 minutes and 1-minute remaining, and politely, but firmly enforce a STOP. Unless there is a compelling reason, such as a late arriving or early departing presenter, please have the papers presented in the order that they are listed in the program.
  • If they are to provide useful insight to authors and serve as stimulants for audience follow-on, discussants must receive papers no later than two weeks prior to the conference. This will allow for adequate time for participants to be able to read the session papers.
  • An excellent panel session is one in which the presenters focus on the more important issues in their research, and collectively, with the aid of the discussant, highlight connections among the presented papers. The conference should be an opportunity for professional development in which presenters and session audiences interact to enhance understanding of the issues. Your cooperation with the guidelines in this memorandum will help create an environment for this to occur.

Important Dates for Presenters

  • February 28th – Speaker participation confirmation deadline
  • April 16th – Early registration deadline
  • April 24th – Deadline for presenters to make changes to proposals, affiliations, titles, etc,
  • May 23rd – Final or updated papers due to session chair & discussant
  • May 25th –  Hotel reservation deadline
  • June 10-13th – 7th Conference of the American Society of Health Economists

Below are specific guidelines for presenters, chairs and discussants.


You received an email with your session name, date, time, room name, and in most cases, the names of your session chair and discussants.  If you have not already done so, please remember that as a presenting author you are required to secure one discussant for your panel.  Additionally, you and your co-panelists are also required to secure one chair for your panel.  If you cannot secure a discussant and/or a chair, please contact your program chair. Please reach out to your discussant and let them know the status of your paper.


Begin with a one-minute overview summary of the paper that includes the central question addressed and the major conclusions. To the extent possible, these conclusions should include policy implications.


Follow with the reasons listeners ought to accept the paper’s conclusions: the underlying theory, description of the evidence, methodological defense of the evidence, and connection to (and improvement upon) the existing literature. This manner of exposition differs from that of a journal article, but it is more appropriate to a conference format. Speaking is a more effective way to get an explanation across than reading. 

Presentation Technology

It is highly encouraged to utilize PowerPoint to prepare and display presentations. ASHEcon will provide projectors and screens in all meeting rooms for use during conference sessions.  However, LAPTOPS WILL NOT BE PROVIDED. You’ll need to provide your own.  With a strict 90 minutes for organized sessions, even a minor delay can greatly hamper the success of a panel. Remember that there will be less than 30 minutes available for setting up computer equipment prior to the start of most sessions.

Contents and Format of Presentation Slides

Try to economize on the number of slides in a presentation. Slides should be readable from at least 30 feet (some of the presentation rooms are quite large, some are small), and should be displayed long enough for viewers to comprehend the message they are supposed to convey. A good rule of thumb is one substantive slide (a key exhibit, not an outline page) for every two minutes of presentation (or no more than 6 or 7 total slides per presentation). Slides should serve as an aid but should not be read from directly.


General Guidelines

The most important task for a session chair to perform is to strictly enforce the time allocated to each of the presenters and discussants.  The time allocated to each session is fixed, and if a chair allows one of the first presenters to go over their allotted time it will curtail all of the other presentations.  The other duties of the chair are introducing the papers and presenters and facilitating the open discussion.  Session chairs may also liven their sessions by highlighting points of controversy and /or by encouraging a broader focus, including the policy implications of the material presented.

ASHEcon asks chairs to do the following:

  • Monitor paper progress before the conference to ensure each discussant receives their paper in a timely manner.
  • Convene the panel, either by email or conference call, in advance to make introductions and develop some rapport.
  • You are encouraged to consider an alternative format if the panelists agree; for example, having a discussant summarize all the papers at the beginning of the session. These alternative formats can help facilitate audience participation and discussion.
  • Start the session on time and state the ground rules at the beginning of the discussion, including timing and commitment to discussion. Note that observing stated time limits shows respect for other presenters and for the audience.
  • Introduce all participants at the beginning of the session.
  • Monitor the clock. Presenters who appear to be off-track for completion on time should be cautioned mid-presentation. Monitor time with four signs that read, “5 minutes” “2 minutes”, “1 minute”, and “Stop” to help alert presenters to their timing.
  • Chairs should sit in the front row of the audience, facing the presenters, rather than at the head table, while the presentations are in progress.
  • Do not ask the panelists to respond to the discussant(s) comments. Instead, move quickly to an open discussion that involves the audience.
  • Be prepared to initiate the question period if the audience is not engaged and ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point.


General Guidelines

Discussants play a critical role in determining the quality of audience participation in the session. Please allow yourself at least two weeks to read the papers for the sessions and formulate comments tying the papers together before the conference. After the presentation, the discussant has approximately 7 minutes to talk about the presented paper.

ASHEcon asks discussants to do the following:

  • Discussant remarks about each paper should deal with the major issues that enhance or undermine the paper’ contributions, reserving minor issues for direct communication with the authors.
  • Discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion.
  • Please remember to review each paper in its entirety at least two weeks prior to the conference and limit your comments to no more than 7 minutes during the session.

Discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion.  To further this endeavor, here are some questions to consider and use for audience discussion:

  • Does the research inform policy in the most timely and useful way? If not, what could be done to improve the contribution of research to administration?
  • Are methods used in the research and analysis properly aligned to the nature of current issues in health economics?
  • Are there emerging issues for which we are not producing useful research, but for which we could direct new research?
  • Are there limitations of information, data and research designs that prevent their research from being used by policymakers?
  • What common challenges have researchers encountered when studying the issue?
  • How can we address these challenges in future research?


Poster Setup

All poster presenters will have 30 minutes before the poster reception to put up their poster and 30 minutes after their assigned session to remove their poster.

All poster boards will be numbered, indicating assigned poster spaces for the session. You will receive a specific poster assignment location. Only put your poster up in your assigned space. A staff person will be on hand to help you find your space in the exhibit hall.

Thumbtacks/push pins and Velcro will be provided for putting up your poster. Please do not use tape, staples or any other type of adhesive to hang your poster.

Presenters are asked to be available at their posters during the entirety of their poster session to discuss their posters with interested viewers.


Poster boards measure 4 feet high and 6 feet wide from edge to edge. We recommend that your poster be slightly smaller than the board at maximum: 3×5.5 feet for example. We also recommend your display be printed on paper or lightweight poster board, so it can be attached to the board with thumbtacks push pins or Velcro.

Posters should be prepared as a single poster rather than multiple posters pieced together. When putting up your poster, please do not cover the board numbers. This helps other poster presenters, as well as viewers, quickly identify space assignments.

Posters printed on foam core will be much harder to hang up, please consider this when choosing the materials and format for your poster.

Tables, easels, or other support devices will not be provided and may not be supplied by presenters. Business cards or small leaflet literature for distribution may be inserted in an envelope and affixed to the board.


Design your poster to highlight the major points of your research and stimulate feedback. The following format is suggested: research question; study design/identification strategy; data; results. Present enough information but avoid overcrowding. We do not recommend using PowerPoint slide print-outs.


Consider various options for presenting the salient points of your research. Use graphs to clarify and emphasize the key relationships between figures. Be sure graphs are precise, clearly labeled, placed near the companion text, and large enough for people to read easily. Select the type of chart that best illustrates your point. If using tables, make sure columns are not too narrow, too numerous or too long – so they can be easily read. Use tables only when simpler visuals like graphs or charts won’t suffice.


Design the flow of information from left to right. Use lines, frames, contrasting colors, or arrows to call attention to important points.


Select a simple font and use it consistently. Use both upper and lower-case letters, especially in the body of your presentation. Make lettering large enough to read from at least three feet.


Use color to attract interest and to dramatize similarities and differences. Emphasis may be lost if more than four colors are used. The background color of the poster boards is light gray or beige.


Carrying: If you are having your poster made professionally, we suggest rolling and carrying it in a protective tube. Alternatively, construct your poster in small panels so it will be easy to carry. Portfolio cases are available from art supply stores.  Please note that ASHEcon will not print your poster for you.  All poster presenters must print their poster on their own.