Skinner Honored for Lifetime Achievement in Health Economics

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The Fuchs award cited the economics professor’s work to improve health care systems.

Jonathan Skinner outside by a granite wall
Professor Jonathan Skinner received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Health Economists. (Photo by Robert Gill)

Jonathan Skinner, research professor of economics and a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine, has received the Victor Fuchs Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Health Economics from the American Society of Health Economists (ASHE).

“This is the highest honor one can achieve in the health economics field,” says Nina Pavcnik, the Niehaus Family Professor in International Studies.

“Jon is a pioneer in leading interdisciplinary research teams that have studied some of the most pressing issues facing the U.S. health care system. His research has advanced our understanding of the efficiency of health care, geographical variation in health care, and racial inequalities in health,” Pavcnik says.

The society cited a broad body of research by Skinner, who is also a professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, into the differences in cost and efficiency of different health care systems.

“These are large-scale interdisciplinary collaborations at Dartmouth and partner institutions, drawing on Dartmouth’s comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid data sets,” ASHE wrote.

Skinner says he was surprised and honored to receive the award named for Victor Fuchs, a leader in the field of comparative health care systems who is credited with creating “relative poverty rate” as an economic indicator. Skinner has worked with Fuchs, now 97 years old and an emeritus professor at Stanford University, on several papers, and the two have a paper currently under review.

Skinner says his research, which draws on decades of study at the Dartmouth Institute, seeks to understand why “some places seem to get good results at low costs, some places get good results at high costs, and the most worrisome are the places that do a really bad job at high cost.”

“If you can somehow move those places that are spending a lot of money and providing low-quality care into a more favorable quadrant, then you can attain—and maybe this is the Holy Grail—better care at lower costs.”

The American Society of Health Economists is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in health economics research in the United States and provides a forum for emerging ideas and empirical results of health economics research.

Bill Platt