MIT Economist Recognized For Study of Policy Impact on Vaccine Use and Research

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

WASHINGTON—Oct. 11, 2006—Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Amy Finkelstein, MPhil, PhD, is the recipient of Research!America's 2006 Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award. An economics assistant professor, Finkelstein is being recognized for her paper, "Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy," which appeared in the May 2004 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Finkelstein examined the effect of health policies designed to increase use of vaccines and computed the dollar values of the annual social health benefits from increased vaccination rates and the underlying vaccine research. She found these policies were associated with a 2.5-fold increase in clinical trials for new vaccines against the diseases affected by the policies.

"Fully 94% of Americans believe medical and health research is important to the U.S. economy, according to our public opinion polling," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America board chair. "We are honored to recognize Dr. Finkelstein, whose work underscores the importance of economic incentives and smart public policy in affecting the scale and scope of medical research."

Finkelstein said she was pleased to be recognized with this award, which is named for Eugene Garfield, PhD, the creator of the Science Citation Index-a tool used by scientists across many disciplines. Garfield, the award benefactor and a a Research!America board member, is president and founding editor of The Scientist. He presented the award October 10 in Washington, DC.

"To receive the award from Dr. Garfield, whose work has affected science at large, is a great honor," Finkelstein said. "I hope that my work on how economic incentives affect the development of medical innovations will contribute to the formation of sensible public policies in this area."

About the 2006 Recipient

Finkelstein is an assistant professor of economics at MIT and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research focuses on two areas: market failures and government intervention in insurance markets, and the impact of public policy on the health care sector, particularly on the development and diffusion of medical technology.

She received her bachelor's degree summa cum laude in government from Harvard University in 1995 and a Master of Philosophy degree in economics from Oxford University in 1997, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She received her PhD in economics from MIT in 2001. From 1997 to 1998 she worked as a staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers. Prior to joining the MIT faculty in 2005, she was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.

About the Award

The Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award serves to recognize those whose work illustrates the economic and health impacts derived from medical and health research.

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit, public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by more than 500 member organizations, which together represent the voices of 125 million Americans.


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Media Contacts

Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America