Health Economics Seminar Series

seminar oragnaizers pose together         

The Health Economics Seminar is a weekly event at the Department of Health Care Policy, drawing faculty and students from across Harvard, in addition to postdocs and students from other local schools. The seminar is run by third-year Harvard graduate students in the economics track of the PhD program in Health Policy and invites graduate students from Harvard and outside, to present and discuss their developing research. Typically around 30 students and faculty attend the weekly session.

The seminar is an opportunity for students to present work in progress in front of faculty and colleagues in order to  advance their current projects. As stated by 30th Anniversary Associate Professor Timothy Layton: "The seminar has been running for many years, and it has always served as the primary way for PhD students interested in health economics (from the health policy, public policy, and economics PhD programs at Harvard) to get feedback from faculty. Students present work at various stages of completion, and there is always active discussion from faculty and fellow-graduate students. Students and faculty from across Harvard, as well as postdocs, research assistants, and programmers, attend every week and participate actively. During the pandemic, the seminar moved online, but it never stopped being the primary site for presentation of health economics research in progress at Harvard. Post-COVID, the seminar has even higher attendance, as faculty from Cambridge are able to attend via zoom and provide feedback to students. I’ve attended this seminar for around 10 years, starting when I myself was a graduate student. I’ve found it invaluable at all stages of my career – student, postdoc, and junior faculty."

This year’s seminar series is headed by, Timothy Layton, PhD and is organized by third year economics graduate students: Ilana Salant, Michael Nguyen-Mason, Joseph Hnath, and Graeme Peterson.

Ilana Salant, PhD Candidate in Health Policy (G3, Economics), received her bachelor’s degree in 2016 in Economics from Barnard College, where she interned at the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics, working with Dr. Thomas Koch and his coauthors on retrospective analyses of mergers between hospitals (or hospital systems) and physician groups. Ilana received her master’s degree in economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, graduating summa cum laude and specializing in the Economics of Markets and Organizations. Ilana is currently collaborating with Harvard Professors Tim Layton and Mark Shepard on topics related to insurer participation and adverse selection in health insurance markets. Ilana’s work in the program has been supported by the NBER Pre-doctoral fellowship in Aging and Health.

Michael Nguyen-Mason, PhD Candidate in Health Policy (G3, Economics), graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a B.A. in Economics. His current work includes projects exploring the impact of the thick tailed distribution of health expenditure on diversification of risk, the unequal distribution of health care inflation on income strata, and the low uptake on narrow network plans in the small group market. Other research interests include asymmetries in employer and employee value for insurance and the impact of pharmaceutical detailing on downstream physician prescribing behavior.

Graeme Peterson, PhD Candidate in Health Policy (G3, Economics), received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 2017 with a major in public policy. Prior to beginning the Health Policy PhD program, he worked in the Public Health Economics Program at RTI International and later joined the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. His research primarily focuses on the causes and consequences of racial health inequality and the regulation and functioning of hospital and health insurance markets.

Joseph Hnath, PhD Candidate in Health Policy (G3, Economics), graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2019 with majors in Chemical Biology, Cognitive Science, and Economics. He then received his MPH from Case Western in 2020, during which his research focused on the effects of abortion policy restrictions on maternal health outcomes. His research interests include supply-side cost sharing innovations in managed care and health care provider labor economics. His current projects at Harvard include evaluating the effects of patient-provider concordance on opioid prescribing with Professor Ellen Meara and characterizing Medicare insurance markets, specifically Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans, with Professor Vilsa Curto.

Timothy Layton, PhD, is the 30th Anniversary Associate Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Layton is the 30th Anniversary Associate Professor of Health Care Policy in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an affiliated researcher at J-PAL at MIT. His research focuses on the economics of health insurance markets, with a particular focus on markets and social health insurance programs for low-income households. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from Boston University. He is co-chair of the economics track of the Health Policy PhD Program at Harvard, and he teaches courses on applied econometrics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.