MSI Fellowship Week: Teaching Evaluation in Public Health and Economic Departments by Juan J. DelaCruz

Hello! My name is Juan J. DelaCruz, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Business of Lehman College (Bronx) and Associated Faculty of the School of Public Health and Health Policy (Harlem) both within the City University of New York, a complex of more than 25 junior and senior colleges serving a highly diverse population across the 5 boroughs. Lehman College serves several minority groups across race/ethnicity (Hispanics and Blacks), age (undergraduate students older than 25 years in average), income status (low income), and educational background (first college attendees in their families). We have a School of Public Health and a Department of Economics and Business that operate in isolation, thus there is a need for stronger collaboration in disciplines that intersect areas of common knowledge such as health economics and economic evaluation.

As a result of my engagement in the Minority-Serving Institution Program of the AEA, I proposed two different courses that initiate the groundwork for stronger quantitative tools for health scientist and public health devises for economist interested in human capital in the form of health. The first proposal was Health Economics as an undergraduate course covering topics in the intersection of economics and health (individual and public). Economics helps improve our perception of health markets, economic costs, planning (short- and long term), etc. This course introduces an analysis of health market structures; demand and supply for healthcare; insurance and funding mechanisms; performance of the health care sector from a theoretical perspective as well as provides a comparative analysis of the US healthcare system. The second proposal was Economic Evaluation of Health Programs using cost-utility, -benefit and -effectiveness analyses. Applications of economic evaluation in healthcare programs have increasingly gained importance in the literature of health sciences and among practitioners. This course introduces how to assessment health and healthcare from an economic point of view. Economic evaluation approaches are significant to better understand resource allocation under scarcity and uncertainty. These courses were recently approved by college officials and are ready to go!

Lessons Learned:

Economic evaluation is a significant tool to assess program implementation in health sciences. Its contribution in regards to culturally responsive evaluation has been misunderstood due to its quantitative nature and rigid framework. As mentioned in a previous blog, any discipline regardless of its orientation can be helpful for this purpose if the goal is to include culture and its context. The creation of these courses, beyond its scholarly contribution, has the purpose to build collaboration within academic department. The ultimate goal is to create an interdisciplinary minor in medical doctors, public health specialists, sociologist, social workers and other sciences intermingle with economic methods.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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