The Penn-CMU Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health


CHIBE Director Dr. Kevin Volpp, collaborated with Dr. George Loewenstein at Carnegie Mellon University to establish the Penn-CMU Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health in 2009. The Roybal Center was created with support from a five-year P30 center grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct translational research on aging populations. One of 13 Roybal Centers in the U.S., the Penn-CMU Center specializes in research and dissemination strategies that foster the translation of behavioral economic theories to improve health-promoting behaviors and health care delivery in older adults.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University comprises our Roybal Center. Scientists from the fields of medicine, economics, psychology, statistics, law, epidemiology and other disciplines work together on projects such as improving diabetes glucose control through peer counseling and incentives, examining whether information format affects food choice, and using technology to promote mental acuity in older adults.

With funding from the National Institute on Aging, the Roybal Center distributes up to $100,000 in pilot funding for projects that translate ideas from behavioral economics into practice in ‘real world’ settings, specifically testing interventions that reach middle-aged and elderly Americans at high risk for premature morbidity and mortality. Each pilot project is funded one year, and receives between $2,500 and $20,000.  The pilot program aims to: 1) give research opportunities to junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in behavioral economics; 2) encourage interaction between affiliated researchers; 3) build collaborations with new partner organizations that have access to populations and potential willingness to translate results from the research studies into practice.