UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 2014 Fifth Biennial ASHEcon Conference ABSTRACT The Leonard D. Schaeffer Center of Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California seeks partial funding to help support the fifth biennial conference of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) to be held on June 22-25, 2014, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. ASHEcon is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in health economics research in the United States. Health economics has emerged as a distinct and successful field in economics, bringing theoretical and empirical insights to many issues of practical and policy significance for improving health and health care. Participants at the conference include scholars in economics departments, schools of public health, public policy departments, and business schools, as well as researchers outside academia in government, industry and nonprofit organizations. Beginning with its first conference at the University of Wisconsin in 2006, ASHEcon's biennial conference has quickly become established as the premier health economics conference in the U.S., providing a forum for presenting emerging ideas, empirical results and methodological advances in health economics research, and for facilitating the development of the next generation of health economics scholars. The conference has consistently included three to four sessions on the economics of substance abuse, an important behavior influencing current and future health and wellbeing. This is an area of research for which several ASHEcon members and attendees have been actively engaged. We are seeking funding for organizing sessions centered on four key themes that we believe are timely and particularly relevant to share with attendees at this conference to promote further research in the area: 1. Supply and Demand Factors Influencing Prescription Drug Misuse and Harms 2. The Role of Epigenetics versus Environment on Addictive Behaviors 3. Health Care Reform and its Impact on Substance Abuse Treatment (Availability, Access and Cost) 4. Economics of Substance Abuse and Public Policies Influencing It We plan to produce a research brief that will summarize the proceedings from the above NIDA sponsored session. The research brief will be posted on the ASHEcon conference website. We will also send the research brief to ASHEcon list serve, USC Schaeffer Center list serve and RAND list serve. These list serves combined will reach a wide audience including academia and government.
The general purpose of the fifth ASHEcon biennial conference is to provide an opportunity for a large community of health economists form academia, government and industry to present research, exchange ideas, gain new skills and learn about current policy issues in the field. We plan to organize four sessions at the conference centered on themes of interest to drug policy researchers. Anticipated outcomes include improved research through the exchange of new research findings, dissemination of cutting-edge methods and ideas, better health policies and the development of the next generation of health economics researchers. The conference provides significant time for networking and fostering collaboration among health economists. Evaluations of past ASHEcon conferences indicate high marks on all of these dimensions.