The 2013 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting concluded yesterday, and I flew home as pleased as I’ve ever been about the experience. I could tell you it was because I saw some great talks and posters, and I did see some great talks and posters. I could tell you it was because I learned some new and important things, and I did learn some new and important things.
But what really made the difference was meeting people. I put some real, three-dimensional faces to the avatars and email addresses of those I only knew electronically. I reunited with colleagues I know well (or somewhat). I also made lots of new acquaintances, more than ever before. It came as no surprise to me, and probably won’t to you, that that was due to the popularity of this blog. Dozens of people each day came up to me to tell me how much they appreciate what we do here, how important and helpful it is. And I appreciated hearing that. It reaffirmed what this blog is really about.
It’s about you, the health economics/health services research community. Yes, only a few of us do the writing here. And, yes, it does take time and effort. But the research and ideas we write about are overwhelmingly yours, not ours. Our work is only as good as the studies that inform it.
In one conversation at the conference I was asked what my long term goals for TIE are. At first, I confessed that I hadn’t given it much thought. But after a moment of reflection, my truer answer was that I just wanted to keep it alive, not for me, but for the community. It has become too important and too cherished by too many for it to whither or fail. In that regard, it’s comforting to know that TIE’s continuation and growth does not depend on just me. Aaron is an equal partner in the enterprise. We have many great contributors, both regular and guest. I know there are more in the community that could do this type of dissemination work. TIE is a vehicle that can and should live and thrive beyond the dedication of just one champion.
So, in more ways than one, TIE is the work of the community. It’s as much yours as mine. I encourage you to think of it that way. You can help us help you and maintain the quality and relevance by sending us important and timely work and information. And, your positive feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome. I, we, can’t do it without you.