I have just come back form my first Health Economists' Study Group (HESG) meeting, which this year was held at the University of East Anglia in the beautiful city of Norwich, south east of England, and where I presented some preliminary results from one of my on-going works. I have to say, it was a remarkable experience which I really liked thanks to a wonderful and welcoming environment. I had the pleasure to talk to many people from different research areas involved in health economics (both from academia and industry) and to see many different projects and works.
I particularly enjoy the structure of the meeting, which requires some chair and discussant who have to present and discuss the paper of the authors, who are only allowed to provide some clarification if needed. At first I thought this structure of the sessions was strange, but after attending many sessions and experiencing this for my own paper, I feel that it is a very good way to encourage discussion about works from different people rather than just focussing on your own presentation. Plus, the weather and always sunny, it felt like Italy for a few days.
Other nice people and colleagues from HEART and other UCL department came to HESG with me, including Caroline and Ekaterina (aka Katia), you can see them in thumbnail of this post. I was also pleased to meet Baptiste from LSHTM, who shares with me the interest in missing data methods for cost-effectiveness analysis and who presented some very nice work on that. I had the chance to give some feedback to him and he did the same for me. It felt so nice when we started discussing about some aspects of our analyses and after some minutes we simply lost track of time and everyone else disappeared. I also had the opportunity to talk about my work with the discussant of my session, Catrin Plumpton from the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation, who gave me some nice feedback which I really appreciated, especially given her mathematical background.
An important contribution to the success of the meeting was also given by the wonderful organisation of the event, including an accommodation located very closely to the main building of the meeting, plenty of food provided during each day, a nice bus tour of the city and a wonderful conference dinner. I must thank all the people, who organised the event who were very extremely nice to us and who were always ready to help us for whatever need we had, with a special mention for Emma Mcmanus who was amazing.
In summary, everything was good. Well, almost. Going back to the works presented, as usual, the only less positive note that I would like to make is the almost total absence of Bayesian applications. Some authors mentioned that they used some popular Bayesian program, such as WinBUGS, but this was mainly related to the usual meta-analysis stuff which is pretty standardised. I hope next time I will be able to see more people going Bayesian as this is what I am.