This August saw the first International Summer School Riga (ISSR), which was hosted and organised by Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia. The week-long school drew in students of business, economics, healthcare and social sciences, plus researchers and academics from across Europe. The event focused on the question ‘How can we solve challenges in healthcare systems by applying economic modelling?’, and was explored through presentations, interactive workshops and skills exchange sessions.
Prof Martin Pitt and Dr Sean Manzi were invited to run workshops at the summer school and give students a hands on introduction to techniques for economic modelling in healthcare. Their participation was supported by the Erasmus+ staff mobility scheme. Both Pitt and Manzi are part of the Peninsula Collaboration for Health Operational Research and Development (PenCHORD) team. PenCHORD is part of PenCLAHRC and the University of Exeter’s Medical School, and specialise in helping the NHS make informed decisions using Operational Research.
Pitt, whose topic was ‘Modelling as an Economic tool in Healthcare’ said:
“It was great to see the obvious appetite and enthusiasm from the course participants in Rīga in learning health economic modelling and analysis. There is a clear need to develop these skills in Latvia which is severely challenged in terms of health service funding. Further advanced training has now been requested by Rīga Stradiņš University based on this introductory course and we are hoping to build on this experience and develop a stronger collaborative partnership in time to come.”
Manzi who discussed two topics about patient pathway modelling and geographical modelling said:
"This summer school provided an opportunity to give people working in and around the Latvian health system insight into the use of analytical and simulation techniques to support decision making. In addition, it allowed those of us running the workshops an opportunity to reflect on our experience of using these techniques in the UK and German health systems. The success of this workshop could be seen in the practical enthusiasm of the participants to integrate what they had learnt into their decision making, research and studies."
ISSR was organised by Daiga Behmane, from Rīga Stradiņš University Institute of Public Health in conjunction with the Baltic-German University Liaison Office supported by the German Academic Exchange (DAAD) with funds from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.