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In this seminar Francisca Vargas Lopes will present some of her PhD work on mental health care and inequalities. She will mostly focus on her recently accepted paper about inequalities along the treatment pathway in the Dutch specialist setting. She will integrate these findings with existing literature and her previous papers, to open the discussion to the audience.
Event details of Income Inequalities Beyond Access to Mental Health Care in The Netherlands: What Now? (hybrid)
31 May 2023
16:00 -17:00

Existing literature shows low and unequal access to mental health treatment around the world, resulting in policy efforts to promote access for vulnerable groups. Yet, there is limited evidence about how inequalities develop once patients start treatment. Greater use of mental health care among low income individuals – as in the Dutch system – may be driven by differences in need and may not necessarily lead to better treatment outcomes. We linked patient-level data from treatment records to administrative data on income, demographics from municipal registries and health insurance claims (2011-2016) to estimate adjusted associations between household income quintile and outcomes characterizing four stages of mental health treatment. Our results show that disparities favorable to higher-income patients persist through the different stages of the pathway, including a higher likelihood of functional improvement by the end of the initial record. These differences highlight the limitations of solely focusing on improving access to care to reduce the mental health.

About Francisca Vargas Lopes

Francisca Vargas Lopes is currently finishing her PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam, with joint supervision from the Department of Public Health of ErasmusMC and the Department of Applied Economics of the Erasmus School of Economics, and being a member of EsCHER. Her work brings together the fields of health economics and social epidemiology to study mental health (care) policy and programs, using large administrative datasets and quasi-experimental methods. She has published in SSM, Health Economics, and The Lancet Psychiatry (forthcoming). Her PhD trajectory included a secondment at the Mental Health and Disability team of OECD, in Paris, and a research visit to the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health of McGill University, in Montreal. Back in Portugal Francisca collaborates with Nova SBE Health Economics & Management Knowledge Center, and is Vice-President of the Portuguese Association for Health Economics (APES).

Francisca has originally graduated as a Pharmacist (MPharm) from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon (2013) and has completed a MSc in International Health Policy and Health Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE, 2017). Before starting her PhD she spent some time at the health care focused think-thank Nuffield Trust and at the National Audit Office in the UK, and had roles of Outcomes Consultant and Outcomes Research Manager, respectively in UK and Portuguese subsidiaries of multinational pharmaceutical industries.