Past Event

The Cost of Health Crisis: Measuring the Economic and Human Toll of Pandemics

With Ebola as one frame of reference, and ethics and economics as other ways into the discussion, the IHC intends for a robust public dialogue sparked by brief presentations by a panel of top economic, medical and humanities experts on what public health threats mean in terms of specific costs to hospitals, business, government, individuals and society.

How much does it cost to keep citizens safe and who pays for it all?

Is health safety a human, business or civic responsibility of the government to assure we are protected at all costs? What do we learn from pandemics, threats? What is the role of fear in human costs? Turning to business models, history, literature, economics and the humanities for perspective, this event will elevate the conversation on a topical public issue and offer conversation on a major public health problem and its economic, human and social costs.

Thanks to CAN TV, this event is available via video on the IHC’s YouTube page.


Robert A. Weinstein, M.D.: Professor of Internal Medicine, Rush Medical College; Former Chair of Medicine, Cook County Health and Hospitals System. Dr. Weinstein is a past president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and past chair of CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC).

Catherine Belling, Ph.D.: Associate Professor in Medical Education-Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Executive Editor, Literature and Medicine. Her research is in cultural narratives regarding health/disease and their role in fostering anxiety about disease and about health care. She discusses the role of narrative in patients’, physicians’, and biomedical scientists’ thinking about the inside of the living human body and the place of fear and uncertainty in medical epistemology.

Bruce Lambert, Ph.D.: Professor in the department of communication studies and the director of the Center for Communication and Health at Northwestern University, where he is also a professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences. He is president of BLL Consulting, Inc. and Pharm I.R., Inc., firms that specialize in problems that involve health, communication and technology. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. His research focuses on health communication, drug name confusion, patient and medication safety, health literacy, health information technology, prescribing behavior, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmaceutical promotion, medical liability reform, and health outcomes associated with provider-patient communication.

Rena Conti, Ph.D.: Assistant professor, hematology, oncology, University of Chicago Department of Pediatrics. She is a health economist pursuing research in two main areas: the value of new medical technology for individuals and society, and the organization and financing of medical care for vulnerable populations, including children and the mentally ill. Current projects include investigating the impact of policies intended to incentivize medical innovation, and examining the impact of illness and treatment receipt on individuals’ economic lives.

Odette Yousef: WBEZ reporter. Before joining WBEZ in March 2010, Odette was a reporter for WABE-FM, the local NPR affiliate in Atlanta. There, she covered everything from local politics and business, to criminal courts and health systems. Her work was recognized with the Atlanta Press Club’s 2008 Radio Journalist of the Year, as well as several Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards. Previously, Odette was a producer for NPR’s Talk of the Nation in Washington, DC.



If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event. For parking locations near the facility, please visit

For more information, please call 312.422.5580.