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ICHPS Organizers Share Hopes, Plans for 2023 Conference in Arizona

1 April 2022 No Comment

Planning is ongoing for the 2023 International Conference on Health Policy Statistics (ICHPS), a forum for discussing research needs and solutions to the methodological challenges in the design of studies and analysis of data for health policy research. The goal of the conference is to connect statisticians, methodologists, researchers, economists, data scientists, and others to share ideas with the broader health policy community.

The conference theme is “Upgrading the Pipeline from Health Data to Health Policy. Submitting an invited abstract (by April 29) or contributed or poster abstract (by June 30) is one opportunity for you to be part of this forum.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Cochair Ruth Etzioni, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Q: What was the inspiration for the theme of the 2023 Conference, “Upgrading the Pipeline from Health Data to Health Policy”?

A: Pipeline is a modern concept that reflects what we do as health policy statisticians—we translate data and measurement into algorithms and models designed to support medical and policy decisions.
We want ICHPS 2023 to be as inclusive as possible; no matter where your research falls on this pretty vast pipeline, we want you! Upgrading is about innovating and advancing the field—and this is what our ICHPS is all about.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Cochair Mike Baiocchi, Stanford University

Q: How long have you been attending ICHPS, and what is one memorable but unexpected experience you can share?

A: I’ve been attending ICHPS since 2008. It’s always been my favorite conference because it’s so easy to connect with the others who attend. The projects are interesting and the people are friendly.

One of my clearest memories (because it was mortifying) is when, at an ICHPS happy hour, I got to talk with a prominent researcher*, who was an absolute legend to me for his work on residual inclusion models. I was nervous and trying to do my best to impress him, and I immediately spilled red wine on his shoes. He was kind, and we started up a bit of a connection. I even had the opportunity to write a commentary on one of his papers recently! Please note the takeaway here is not to spill wine on people. The takeaway is ICHPS is the conference where you can get close enough to your heroes to ruthlessly embarrass yourself.

*Curious about who this mystery prominent researcher is? Connect with me at ICHPS 2023 to find out!

Meet ICHPS 2023 Cochair of the Scientific Organizing Committee Jose Zubizarreta, Harvard University

Q: What is the vision and goals of the Scientific Organizing Committee for ICHPS 2023? Why did you want to be part of this committee?

A: We wish to gather and display key developments across areas of statistics to improve health policy and decisions. These advances span from the collection of health data to the design and analysis of health studies and, ultimately, to effective communication of study results. As the events of recent years have shown, statistics and data science can play a crucial role in making improvements to health policy and decisions, as well as to population well-being.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Cochair of the Scientific Organizing Committee Evan Carey, Seattle/Denver Center of Innovation and Colorado School of Public Health

Q: How are current events in the world affecting the topics for ICHPS 2023? What have you taken away from past conferences to affect your work?

A: The pandemic has caused biostatisticians (including me) to critically examine the impact of their work—are we providing actionable information to the right people? The overall theme at ICHPS 2023 and the planned content reflects this focus and will help attendees plan and execute impactful work.

Past ICHPS conferences have been exceptionally helpful to me by providing exposure to cutting-edge methods useful for causal inference in the context of complex observational data.  

Meet ICHPS 2023 Cochair of the Scientific Organizing Committee Hui Xie, Simon Fraser University

Q: What are some of the key themes we may hear about at ICHPS 2023? How will the variety of topics be selected?

A: As the first ICHPS conference since the COVID pandemic, one timely and key theme of ICHPS 2023 is upgrading data and methodology pipelines to inform optimal health policy decisions regarding COVID control, including vaccination; surveillance; and societal, behavioral, and pharmaceutical interventions. Attendees will also learn about innovations in causal inference, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and construction and use of rich and secure databases for health care and policy research.

The topics at the conference will be selected based on their timeliness and significance, relevance to the theme of ICHPS 2023, and their overall impact on the health policy community and improving our health care systems.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Student Committee Chair, Yuan Chen, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Q: How can students expect to benefit by attending ICHPS 2023? How can students make the most of their ICHPS experience?

A: Many aspects of the program at ICHPS 2023 will specifically target students. These include workshops, roundtable discussions on career/mentoring, and student paper awards and presentations. To make the most of ICHPS, students are encouraged to explore all the above programs and other exciting sessions at ICHPS 2023, submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations, and meet and connect with people at the conference.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Local Organizing Committee Chair, Melissa Kovacs, FirstEval

Q: What is special about the local Arizona community that conference attendees can explore when attending ICHPS 2023? What are you looking forward to at ICHPS 2023?

A: Winter in the desert is a special time, with chilly nights (perfect for stargazing) and sunny days (perfect for long walks, trail running, cactus-ogling, birding, and working on patios). I’m looking forward to Old Town Scottsdale showing off its amazing restaurants, bars, shopping, and spas a short walk from the conference resort.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Jason Brinkley, Abt Associates

Q: What is the goal of the Fundraising Committee? Can you share an example of how fundraising had a positive impact on past conferences?

A: The fundraising committee works to help bring in additional money to expand the ICHPS program and help keep costs low for attendees. Conferences usually need additional funds to deliver a high-quality program with diverse speakers and topics.

Our goal is to provide a special session, cover travel for unique speakers, and allow more support for student attendees (especially those not located in the United States). We do this in several ways. First, we submit grant proposals to US federal agencies for add-ons to our program. We did this successfully in 2018 and 2020 to add special sessions or workshops focused on rural data and tele-health. Second, we reach out to private companies who work in the health policy space to provide sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors are critical for us to provide those unique add-ons that make the conference more convenient, accessible, and fun.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Outreach Committee Cochair Beth Ann Griffin, RAND Corporation

Q: What is the goal of the Outreach Committee? What was a memorable moment from a past ICHPS?

A: The goal of the Outreach Committee is to coordinate efforts to recruit and raise awareness about the next ICHPS meeting theme and location. We want to increase engagement and excitement about the meeting.

A favorite memory for me is participating in an invited opioid policy session for ICHPS 2020 that drew together leading researchers to discuss and brainstorm best practices for ensuring optimal policy research. The engagement from the audience was great, and I am still using the lessons learned from that session today in my own work.

Meet ICHPS 2023 Outreach Committee Cochair Victoria Gamerman, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals

Q: Why were you interested in joining the Outreach Committee? How can others help spread the word?

A: We are so excited to reconnect with the broader statistics and data science health policy community. This is a chance to spread the word, highlight key themes of importance to our communities, and connect people who may or may not yet be networking with each other. While we will do much of this during ICHPS, the key efforts can start now. If you see a post about ICHPS in any of the social channels or emails, we encourage you to spread the word by passing it on to friends and colleagues.

Meet ICHPS 2023 ASA Representative, Christina Link, American Statistical Association

Q: What sets ICHPS 2023 apart from other ASA conferences?

A: This is a unique ASA conference because it occurs every 2–3 years, rather than annually, and brings together individuals from all aspects of health policy statistics. ICHPS’s aim is to create interfaces between practitioners, methodologists, health service researchers, health economists, and policy analysts so they can exchange and build on ideas they will disseminate to the broader health policy community.

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