By Kosali Simon
EHEC (https://www.ehealthecon.org), the Electronic Health Economics Colloquium, is co-organized by Shooshan Danagoulian, Ezra Golberstein, Sayeh Nikpay and David Slusky
Kosali: Tell us in a nutshell: what is EHEC and how can one tune in as a participant or as a prospective presenter?
Shooshan: EHEC is an online seminar platform that brings together health economists across institutions in the US and globally to present and discuss current research. It is a free and open resource available by visiting our website (https://www.ehealthecon.org/) to register for talks. We also issue periodic calls-for-papers where any researcher can submit. To be most inclusive in selecting the papers, we randomize selection to reduce bias to ensure that everyone gets a fair shot regardless of seniority or institution.
Kosali: EHEC has provided a much-needed venue for online interaction for health economists the last couple of years. What are your plans as we return to campus settings?
Shooshan: Though many universities have returned to in-person seminars, health economics presentations are not regularly available even at the well-funded departments. Furthermore, EHEC is a venue where one can get feedback on research from a wide audience of health economists, many of whom are likely to be future reviewers for the paper. We believe the focus on health economics and the ability to bring together a wide audience makes EHEC essential for professional development of an early-, mid-, and late-career health economist.
As our audience has competing demands on their attention, we have reduced the EHEC seminars to once a month, and have integrated more invited speakers along with presenters drawn from the open call-for-papers. Look out for a method seminar in Summer 2022 in response to the needs to keep up with the fast-changing developments in this area.
Kosali: It really was quite phenomenal how your team got this up and running so quickly in those dark days of spring 2020. Where can people read more about how it happened?
Shooshan: We have detailed that a bit in our 2020 newsletter column.
In Spring 2020 we, along with others, felt powerless in the face of the unknown virus and the isolation it imposed on us. The motto for EHEC, “Pooling together online in a separating equilibrium” was coined by Ezra Golberstein to reflect what we felt was a unique opportunity to bring together a community of researchers both to overcome the isolation but also to share research resources more democratically.