May 24, 2017

Elective Course – Health Economics

Health Economics (ECON334)

Professor: Tracy Falba

Semester: Spring 2017

Health Economics (ECON334) explored the health care sector and health policy issues from an economic perspective, covering issues including the value of health, the demand for health care, health insurance markets, managed care, medical technology, government insurance programs, health care reform, the pharmaceutical industry, and the economics of bad habits.

Since I am extremely interested in the intersection of social entrepreneurship and healthcare, this was a great class to take to gain greater insight into the healthcare industry and in-depth knowledge of economic models of cost-effectiveness, utility, and benefits in healthcare. The summer after my sophomore year, I interned with Social Entrepreneur Corps in Guatemala, where I was involved in multiple different micro-consulting projects. One project that I worked on involved the development of a soup kitchen nutritional health program for kids. My role was to evaluate the feasibility of the initiative (in addition to creating a database for food costs, meal preparation costs, and other logistics, I created an economics cost-benefit model and presented strategy recommendations to the partner organization). Through this course, I was able to connect my experiences in Guatemala to classroom study of national and global health policy.

Additionally, in the spring semester of my junior year, I joined an initiative with the digital health startup Higgs Boson Health, LLC to introduce a task-management pilot program in hospitals around the RTP area and on the East Coast. Health Economics (ECON334) provided me with the technical basis and background necessary for my work at this startup, giving me the critical lens to analyze problems and the knowledge of the current healthcare system in the US.