McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

CHESG Conference

Published: May 9, 2006

The ranking of health system efficiency is among new research projects to be discussed at the annual conference of the Canadian Health Economics Study Group (CHESG) taking place this week at McMaster University.

About 50 delegates, mostly researchers from academic centres who specialize in health economics, will be discussing 10 different, ongoing research projects, covering topics such as:

  • The role of working mothers in the relationship between child television-viewing habits and weight;
  • Ranking health system efficiency among Canadian provinces and American states;
  • The effect of economic conditions and health care expenditures on suicide rates in Canada.

All of the research being presented is material that has not yet been published, said Paul Contoyannis, lead organizer of the conference and associate member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA).

The conference, taking place in Hedden Hall, opens on Thursday morning with a keynote address by Christopher Ruhm, the Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Ruhm teaches in the areas of labour and health economics, applied microeconomics and quantitative methods. He has conducted extensive research on various aspects of the economy and their impact on health issues.

His talk at the conference will focus on how a population’s health is affected during economic downturns. Although conventional belief is that health deteriorates during downturns, more recent research indicates that mortality decreases and physical health improves when the economy temporarily weakens. Ruhm will summarize the current state of knowledge in this subject area, and discuss possible mechanisms for the findings.

A second keynote address on Friday morning will be delivered by Pravin Trivedi, a professor of economics at Indiana University, whose research and teaching focuses on microeconometric methods and applications. He will discuss the results of a study on how a lack of health insurance in the U.S. affects the manner in which people make use of health care services.

The conference will run all day Thursday, and for a half-day on Friday. In addition to international researchers, delegates include representatives from government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry.

CHESG is an affiliation of health economics researchers, mostly from academic centres. The group meets once a year, in different locations.

This year’s conference was organized by Contoyannis, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, and Jerry Hurley, professor of economics and acting director of CHEPA.

For more information on the CHESG conference, go to , or contact Donna Wilcockson at ext. 22018, or by e-mail,

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