Ph.D. Health Economics, Texas A&M University, 2019.
Dissertation: “Studies in Policy Impact Analysis using Quasi-Experimental Design;
Gun Policy, Marijuana Legalization, and Same-Sex Marriage Laws”
B. Sc. Economics, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 2014.
January, 2020 – Present
Health Service Delivery and Health Facilities Specialist, Asian Development Bank
Currently I am working for the ADB on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for Inclusive Growth in supporting the efforts of developing member countries (DMCs). I am providing support by undertaking analysis of knowledge gaps and key challenges to achieving and sustaining UHC, disseminating knowledge on designing, implementing and scaling up UHC interventions, and identifying investment opportunities for projects supporting UHC. I am preparing a baseline study on current stock of health service delivery in Asia and the Pacific, and also identifying and recommending interventions to transform and improve the health service delivery systems in line with aging populations and increasing NCDs challenges. In the next stage if this project I will be working on costing studies for Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, and Philippines.
September – December, 2019
Health Economist (Consultant), Asian Development Bank
I worked for the ADB as a Health Economist focusing on Country Diagnostic Study and Country Partnership Strategy. The study involved detailed review of health sector issues, relevant for a new health sector strategy, which would coordinate and align the various reform initiatives (including health insurance reforms) and provide clear directions and guidance for their implementation and consolidation. In addition, I undertook review of public expenditure for health, public financial management systems, health seeking behavior and utilization, health services delivery, human resources for health, and access to medicines. I am also assisting in analyzing the high burden diseases in Pakistan and their impact on the economy.
May – September, 2019
Health Financing and Actuarial Consultant, Asian Development Bank
Working with Armenian and Asian Development Bank experts, I undertook primary data collection through surveys of medical experts to determine normative and actual service costs, which formed the basis of an actuarial model to estimate the costs of Armenia’s UHC reform options. In addition, I worked with an ADB health actuary and local consultants in developing, estimating, and implementing the full actuarial model. This position also entailed undertaking analytical studies for examining the impact of 2 single-payer and multi-payer healthcare systems on health expenditures in Armenia, including out-of-pocket payments.
February – April, 2019
Health Policy Consultant, Asian Development Bank
I was responsible for conducting global time series and point in time comparisons of Armenia’s health system performance as well as fiscal space and sustainability analyses for presentations and reports underlying Armenia’s UHC reform efforts. These analyses involved the use of data from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSTAT), World Health Organization’s Global Health Expenditure Database (WHO-GHED), and Armenia’s Integrated Living Conditions Survey (ILCS). In addition, I was part of the team that conducted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Health Sector Review. I was involved in writing the paper and conducting the analyses of health financing in KP. We also examined the options for strategic purchasing and assessed implementation of a stronger single purchaser in KP.
2015 – 2018
Graduate Research Assistant, Texas A&M University
As a PhD student, I was a research assistant for Dr. Michael Morrisey (also my committee chair) from 2015 – 2018. During these 2 years I undertook multiple research projects related to health policy impact evaluations. Main research topics were: 1) Gun policy, 2) Marijuana Legalization, 3) Same-sex marriage laws, and 4) Traffic laws (texting bans). Most of the research utilized large datasets from the State Emergency Department Database, State Inpatient Database, and National Inpatient Sample. Methodologically these projects applied difference-in-difference models, regression discontinuity, triple blinding, and propensity score matching.
June – August, 2013
Household Survey Analyst for Rural Punjab, London School of Economics
During the summer of my junior year I worked as a data analyst for a project funded by DFID that was supervised by a faculty member from LSE. It included three phases; designing the questionnaire for household economics, collecting data from rural areas in South Punjab, and cleaning/analyzing the survey data.
June – August, 2012
Actuarial Intern, Nauman Associates
I was responsible for conducting actuarial valuations for employee health benefits and pension plans. I was part of the team that designed insurance plans for the employees of Fauji Fertilizer and Askari Bank.
January – May, 2018
Teaching Assistant, Health Care Financial Management – II, Texas A&M University
August 2014 – May 2015
STATA Lab Tutor, Department of Economics, Texas A&M University
May – July, 2014
Teaching Assistant, Econometrics, Lahore University of Management Sciences
August – December, 2013
Teaching Assistant, Economics of Investment & Finance, Lahore University of Management Sciences
“Marijuana Legalization & Pediatric Exposures: A Quasi-Experimental Design”(with Michael A. Morrisey and Dennis Gorman)
Since the legalization of marijuana, number of underage children inadvertently having access to marijuana in edible forms (brownies, candies, etc.) has increased and is evident from the increase in marijuana poisoning among children. We curated data from HCUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization) SEDD (State Emergency Department Databases) & SID (State Inpatient Databases) to compile information on number of marijuana poisoning cases in children. Treatment states were those that had legalized recreational and/or medicinal marijuana, and control states that have not legalized. Our paper implemented a quasi-experimental design to estimate the policy effect for both recreational and medical legalization on pediatric poisoning. Our estimates suggest that medical marijuana legalization is associated with significant increase of 12.2% in pediatric exposures, and recreational is associated with an increase of 19.9%.
“Same-Sex Marriage Law and Sexually Transmitted Infections”(with Michael A. Morrisey and Robert L. Ohsfeldt)
In June 2015, Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of legal recognition for same-sex marriages. Prior to that, states had adopted their own rules. Such variation in same-sex marriage laws allows us to use a difference-in-difference model to examine the impact of legalization on STI cases. Past reports in medical and social science literature have suggested that legal recognition of same-sex marriage has had positive effects on health status of LGBTQ community in terms of improved access and quality of care. We have not been able to find any research that looked specifically at the policy impact on STIs related visits across multiple states, over time. Our study used HCUP SID & SEDD data to separate cases with STIs using ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes. Study findings indicate that legalization is associated with a significant decrease of 6.1% for all cases, and of 8.5% for 18-24 age cohort.
“Impact of Gun Policy on Mass Shootings Related Fatalities & Injuries”(with Michael A. Morrisey and Robert L. Ohsfeldt)
Past research on firearm related deaths and injuries, particularly associated with mass shootings in the United States is extremely limited. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to look at the impact of gun policy on mass shooting related injuries and fatalities. More importantly, it does not analyze the usual gun policy variables (open carry, concealed carry, etc.) as they are not related to mass shootings. It focuses on issues like domestic violence, mental health, assault weapon ban, lost or stolen reporting, child access prevention, universal background check, and gun shows. Since financial and economic factors could also play a role in mass shootings, the study controls for population and per capita income, while unemployment rate is included as a key macroeconomic variable. A Negative Binomial difference-in-difference research design was implemented. Results show that higher unemployment rate is associated with a significant increase in mass shooting related fatalities and injuries. Furthermore, states that required reporting of individuals with history of mental illness to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System were associated with a significant decrease in occurrence of mass shooting incidents.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Systematic Review of Malpractice, Fraud, and Adverse Events in Healthcare (Supervisors: Alva O. Ferdinand, Timothy Callaghan, and Michael A. Morrisey)
In the first stage, I went through 7,096 article titles for the review. In the second stage, I read the abstracts to further subset. In the third stage, I, along my team, developed a criterion for including the articles, in this stage I read all the articles that were left after inclusion based on the abstracts. Our target was to focus on the past literature that has used any kind of empirical data to present findings related to malpractice, fraud or/and adverse event cases in healthcare in the United States. This project is ongoing, we have finalized 376 articles from 7,096, and currently we are working on extracting the empirical findings from these articles.
Impact of Gun Policy on Firearm Related Hospitalizations (Supervisors: Alva O. Ferdinand, Michael A. Morrisey, and Dennis Gorman)
We received grant from Texas A&M University, School of Public Health, Research Enhancement & Development Initiative for examining the impact of gun policy on firearm related hospitalizations. We used funds to purchase recent years HCUP SID & SEDD for multiple states. I was solely responsible for ordering and managing the data on server, cleaning in SAS and then moving it to STATA format for difference-in-difference analysis. I also separated the data by the relevant ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes.
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS AND SUBMISSIONS
Alva O. Ferdinand, Ammar Aftab, Marvellous A. Akinlotan, “Texting-While-Driving Bans and Motor Vehicle Crash–Related Emergency Department Visits in 16 US States: 2007–2014”, American Journal of Public Health 109, no. 5 (May 1, 2019): pp. 748- 754.
Malik, K. Z., Ali, S. Z., Imtiaz, A., Aftab, A., (2019). “Preference Shocks in an RBC Model with Intangible Capital. Cogent Economics & Finance, 7(1), 1586621.
Appiah, B., Burdine, J., Aftab, A., Asamoah-Akuoko, L., Anum, D., Kretchy, I., Samman, E., Appiah, P., Bates, I., (2018). “Determinants of Intention to Use Mobile Phone Caller Tunes to Promote Voluntary Blood Donation: Cross-Sectional Study”. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(5), e117.
Ferdinand, A., Morrisey, M., Aftab, A. The Great Recession, Gas Prices, Regulation, and Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Commercial Vehicles (In preparation for submission, Journal of Health Economics).
PEER REVIEWED CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS, ABSTRACTS, AND POSTERS
Aftab, A., Lavado, R. “Estimating Health-Related Productivity Loss: Application of Lost Wages Approach in Armenia”. Oral presentation at the Economists’ Forum Asian Development Bank, 2020, Manila, Philippines.
Aftab, A., Kharazyan, S., Isahakyan, S. "Actuarial Costing of Services in Armenia: Path to Universal Health Insurance". Oral presentation at the 5th International Medical Congress of Armenia, 2019, Yerevan, Armenia.
Ferdinand, A., Aftab, A. State Texting-While-Driving Bans and their Impact on Motor Vehicle Crash-Related
Emergency Department Visits. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, 2018, San Diego, CA.
Ferdinand, A., Aftab, A. State Texting-While-Driving Bans and their Impact on Motor Vehicle Crash-Related
Emergency Department Visits. Oral presentation at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, 2018, Seattle, WA.
Ferdinand, A., Morrisey, M., Aftab, A. The Great Recession, Gas Prices, Regulation, and Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Commercial Vehicles. Poster presented at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, 2016, Boston, MA.
Ferdinand, A., Morrisey, M., Aftab, A. The Great Recession, Gas Prices, Regulation, and Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Commercial Vehicles. Oral presentation at the American Society of Health Economics Conference, 2016, Philadelphia, PA.
Aftab, A. et. al. “Pakistan Reviving Growth through Competitiveness”. Country Diagnostic Study, Asian Development Bank, December 2020.
Aftab, A. et. al. “An Actuarial Model for Costing Universal Health Coverage in Armenia”. Asian Development Bank, December 2020.
Aftab, A. et. al. “An Updated Assessment of the Economic Impact of COVID-19”. No. 133 ADB Briefs, Asian Development Bank, May 2020.
GRANTS, CONTRACTS, AND FUNDED RESEARCH
Project Title: Examining the Impact of Gun Control Laws on Firearm-Related Morbidity and Mortality
Funded by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health (Total Funding: $25,000)
HONORS AND AWARDS
2014 – 19 Full scholarship & stipend for PhD, Texas A&M University
2014 Certificate of Teaching Assistant Institute – Texas A&M University
2011 – 14 IOA (Institute of Actuaries) – 4 core technical exemptions
2011 – 14 SOA (Society of Actuaries) – 4 exams passed
2011 – 14 Dean’s Honor List (undergraduate)
2011 University of Waterloo, Euclid mathematics competition – Distinction
Expert: STATA, SAS, SPSS, Excel, LaTeX, MathType
Beginner: SQL, Python