Health economics expert to speak at OWU


One of the world’s foremost experts in health economics will return to his alma mater to give a free public lecture at Ohio Wesleyan University on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

During the past 40 years, William C. Hsiao has helped to design health system reforms and universal health insurance programs for countries including China, Colombia, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Uganda, Vietnam and the United States.

During that same time, Hsiao also has served as an adviser to three U.S. presidents and to the U.S. Congress, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization and International Labor Organization.

On Oct. 20, Hsiao, a 1959 OWU graduate, will present at free lecture and receive an OWU honorary Doctor of Law degree for his global efforts to improve health care for hundreds of millions of people.

Hsiao, who majored in physics and mathematics at Ohio Wesleyan, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in Benes Room B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. He will discuss “Ideological Struggle and Global Health Around the World.”

Currently, Hsiao serves as the K.T. Li Research Professor of Economics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. He also earned his doctorate in economics from Harvard.

“It is a great honor to welcome William Hsiao home to Ohio Wesleyan and to celebrate his considerable accomplishments by awarding him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, the university’s highest honor,” said OWU President Rock Jones. “He exemplifies the power and purpose of Ohio Wesleyan: to educate moral leaders for the global society. His visit promises to be both informative and inspiring.”

In Hsiao’s work for developing nations, he has researched sustainable financing mechanisms to provide health care for the poor rural population. With UNICEF’s support, he has collaborated with seven universities in China to conduct a nationwide study on health care financing, laying the groundwork to reform the design of health insurance benefits for 900 million rural residents.

With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hsiao has explored models to improve the financing and delivery of basic health care for 350 million low-income rural residents in China.

In addition, he developed the “control knobs” framework to diagnose the causes for successes or failures of national health systems and, separately, developed the resource-based relative value scale for setting physician fees.

For his work, Hsiao was named Man of the Year in Medicine in 1989. He has published more than 180 papers and several books and served on the editorial boards of multiple professional journals. He also has been elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine, U.S. National Academy of Science, and as a board member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and Society of Actuaries.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Ohio Wesleyan University.

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