We sat down with President Elect David Cutler to talk about the upcoming 2021 ASHEcon conference. Reminder that the conference will be held virtually from June 21-23, 2021 via zoom. The virtual conference will replicate the full in-person conference featuring over 160 sessions, plenaries, and opportunities to network. Check out the agenda here!
Sebastian: Hi David, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s start at the beginning, what is the format of the conference in this virtual world?
David Cutler: Some parts will be familiar and other parts will be novel. We will have the usual sessions and plenaries. But we have asked the session chairs to allow time at the end of each session for general discussion and online mingling. This is to replace the lack of ability to do this because we are not in person. We will also experiment with other ways of facilitating gathering in an online world, for example with virtual receptions.
Sebastian: Are there featured keynote speakers or panels you would like to highlight?
David Cutler: We have three plenaries. Marty Gaynor will give the Presidential Address; there will be a plenary on what the US can learn about universal healthcare from other countries, which Sherry Glied will moderate; and Marcella Alsan will give a plenary address on racial health inequality. In addition, one panel of concurrent sessions will focus on three larger topics: how COVID-19 changed the drug and vaccine business; the future of health economics; and the health care agenda for the Biden Administration.
Sebastian: What are you especially excited about regarding the conference? Are there opportunities for jr. folks that you would like to highlight?
David Cutler: I am excited to tackle so many different topics. In addition to areas of ongoing health economics concern, we now have an overlay of COVID-19 on the agenda. I am also excited that we have a lot of younger presenters. The program committee was encouraged to have younger presenters and discussants, and to experiment with other ways of involving younger scholars in the program.
Sebastian: Do you have a session (or sessions) you are excited about?
David Cutler: There are so many that it is hard to choose! One thing I love is seeing my former students present. It gives me great pride to watch the progression of people I helped to train. I am continually impressed that the relatively small amount of input I give can help propel people to do such great things.