Master Class on Mental Health Economics

In July, Myers-JDC-Brookdale held a master class on Mental Health Economics, led by Prof. Dominic Hodgkin, an economist from the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy & Management. Prof. Hodgkin specializes in the econometrics of mental health care.

Along with researchers from MJB’s Smokler Center for Health Policy Research, in attendance were representatives from the mental health and finance departments of the Ministry of Health and the national health plans, as well as representatives from hospitals, family & patient support associations and academia.

Set to coincide with the launch of Israel’s national mental health care reform implementation, the day-long workshop provided a valuable opportunity for this select group of researchers, health care professionals and policymakers to learn from one of the world’s leading experts on the economics of mental health care, to connect with one another and to exchange professional knowledge.

MJB’s Smokler Center has been chosen to monitor and evaluate implementation of the reform, bringing a broad, objective perspective to the table. Wide participation in the master class evidenced the Institute’s role as a neutral convener for productive dialogue between the many and varied professional stakeholders.

Participants discussed issues including projecting needs and demand for mental health care services, improving allocation of limited resources, anticipating public responses to economic incentives, and foci on special populations.

During his stay in Israel, Professor Hodgkin also held personal consultations with a number of leaders of the reform effort, including representatives of the Ministry of Health, and made site visits to a national health clinic and psychiatric hospital.

This international exchange was supported by MJB’s partnership with the Heller School. Over the past several years, the partnership has facilitated exchange visits of several Smokler researchers and several webinars between the two institute staffs. Heller School researchers are currently preparing two literature reviews to explore possible joint research initiatives. Smokler researcher Yael Ashkenazi is scheduled to visit Brandeis this autumn. It is our hope that the recent visit will lead to a deepening of the collaborative relationship between the two institutes.