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Economics of health explored in WMU Sichel Series

by Mark Schwerin

Oct. 6, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Dr. David Meltzer.
KALAMAZOO--The economics of health issues will come into sharper focus during this year's Werner Sichel Lecture Series starting this month at Western Michigan University.

Now in its 48th year, the speaker series brings highly regarded economists to the area to discuss timely and important economic issues. This year's series features six nationally known economists and medical specialists whose presentations are free and open to the public. All six presentations are 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Room 2028 of Brown Hall.

The first will feature Dr. David Meltzer, physician and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and an associated faculty member in the Harris School and the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. Meltzer will speak Wednesday, Oct. 19, on "Economic Reasons for the Growth of Hospitalists in the United States and Implications for Improved Models of Care for High Risk Patients."

Hospitalist is the term used for doctors who specialize in the care of patients in the hospital. This movement was initiated about a decade ago and has evolved due to many factors.

Meltzer earned his medical and doctoral degree in economics from the University of Chicago and completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves as a health economics advisor for the Congressional Budget Office.

Meltzer's research explores problems in health economics and public policy with a focus on the theoretical foundations of medical cost-effectiveness analysis and the determinants of the cost and quality of care, especially in teaching hospitals. He is currently completing a randomized trial comparing the use of hospitalists with traditional physicians in six academic medical centers.

Meltzer is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Economics, the University of Chicago Searle Fellowship, the Lee Lusted Prize of the Society for Medical Decision Making, and the Health Care Research Award of the National Institute for Health Care Management.

The Sichel Series is organized by the WMU Department of Economics and named in honor of longtime WMU economics professor Dr. Werner Sichel, who retired in 2004. The series is annually cosponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Other upcoming Sichel Lectures