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top100 for 100andchange

Penn Proposal Advances to Top 100 in MacArthur Foundation’s $100 Million Grant Competition

By | CHIBEblog
100andchangetop100
Team seeks to shut down HIV transmission in South Africa

A proposal spearheaded by the University of Pennsylvania has been named in the Top 100 in the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change competition, which offers a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

The collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), the Ezintsha unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and Discovery Vitality (part of South Africa’s largest private insurance company) seeks to implement interventions that will help to end South Africa’s HIV epidemic. Specifically, their Top 100 proposal will implement proven behavioral interventions that will increase individuals’ utilization of highly effective, widely available HIV services and shut down HIV transmission.

South Africa HIV graphic“Our team brings together behavioral scientists and clinicians as well as public and private sector implementation specialists. Together we seek to implement compelling, low-cost behavioral interventions that will motivate people to seek the highly-effective health services that are so vital to ending the HIV epidemic.” said Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and an Associate Director of CHIBE. “This is a “last mile” challenge that can be addressed with behavioral insights.”

Dr. Thirumurthy leads the collaboration at Penn along with Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and also a CHIBE Associate Director.

Francois Venter, MD, PhD, the lead collaborator at Ezintsha in South Africa and a prominent HIV treatment and prevention specialist, noted, “This will change the world. We can use proven behavioral approaches in an amazing public-private partnership to contain the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Lessons and experiences here can be scaled across the region and affect millions of lives here, and regionally. Eliminating HIV transmission is the dream of anyone working in HIV – and this approach can finally get us towards that goal.”

“To curb HIV transmission in South Africa through behavioral change would be a manifestation, at scale, of Discovery’s core purpose which is to make people healthier and enhance their lives,” said Dr. Mosima Mabunda, Head of Wellness at Discovery Vitality. “This is an initiative we would be proud to be involved in and endorse. As the world’s largest behavior-change platform linked to insurance, Discovery Vitality has a track record of encouraging people to make better choices toward improved health outcomes. By combining smart tech, data, incentives, and behavioral science, together we can harness a powerful vision to create healthier societies.”

Find more information about this project on Lever for Change’s Bold Solutions Network website, which features the University of Pennsylvania collaboration as one of the Top 100 from 100&Change. Click here to view the team’s factsheet.

This competition launched in April 2019, and since then the team has advanced through administrative and peer-to-peer review and wise head and technical review to get to the Top 100. This spring, the MacArthur Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists, and the award winner will be announced in fall 2020.

For questions related to the Penn team, please contact CHIBE Communication Manager Meghan Ross at Meghan.ross@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. For questions related to the Ezintsha unit, please contact Head of Strategic Development at Ezintsha Holly Fee at HFee@wrhi.ac.za.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey headshot

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Featured in ’25 Medical Pioneers to Celebrate This Black History Month’

By | CHIBEblog

We’re proud that CHIBE Internal Advisory Board Member Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, has been named one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s 25 medical pioneers to celebrate this Black History Month.

Becker’s Hospital Review wrote:

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey headshot“Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA. First black female president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has more than 30 years of experience as a medical practitioner, policymaker, professor and nonprofit executive. In 2003, she became the first black female president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of America’s largest philanthropic organizations devoted to public health and healthcare. Before joining the foundation, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey served as a professor of medicine and healthcare systems at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, directed Penn’s Institute on Aging and was chief of geriatric medicine at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.”

See who else made the list here.

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We’re Hiring: Senior Data Manager

By | CHIBEblog
Apply here

CHIBE and the Division of Health Policy are seeking to hire a senior data manager.

Job Description Summary

The Division of Health Policy and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics is seeking a Senior Data Manager to create a robust research data infrastructure, including data management activities, ensuring all current data security and confidentiality requirements are being met, overseeing adoption of the best practices in data and analytics management, and ensuring the replicability of research results., The Senior Data Manager will also create and manage a secure data enclave/archive that will allow for sharing of finalized data sets.

Job Description

The Senior Data Manager will work under direct supervision by the leadership in Data Analytics and Research Operations and be responsible implementing policies and procedures governing data practices. The Senior Data Manager will maintain a centralized data tracking system, manage data storage, access and reporting, audit study closeouts and supervise/perform replicability analyses. The person will maintain a DUA tracking system across the division/center and liaise with PMACS for server use and data documentation. The Data Manager will manage a data archive/enclave, help to standardize coding, project documentation and work with other research staff on adopting best data management practices. The person will help de-identify datasets as needed and provide consultation or direct data support to researchers who want to re-use data for historical studies or for conducting meta-analysis. Routine data management task includes data receiving, storage, initial data processing, data normalization/standardization and producing descriptive/statistical reports.

This position requires sophisticated programming skills in multiple statistical languages in SAS and STATA. Experience working with claims data, health surveys, clinical trials and/or other large, complex relational databases is essential.  In order to be successful, the candidate must have strong written and verbal communication skills and an understanding of research practices and design considerations. Strong statistical skills, working knowledge of EHR data query using SQL and experiences working on UNIX/LINUX server are required.

The Senior Data Manager will work with the other members of the HP/CHIBE Data Management Core to develop and uphold best practices for data handling, programming, project organization and documentation to enable both the division and center to consistently and efficiently produce high-quality research. This individual will also be a point of contact for questions regarding handling data in compliance with the requirements of the University as well as data providers and funding organizations.

QUALIFICATIONS: 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in related fields such as Public Health, Epidemiology, Economics, Informatics and Statistics is required. Master’s Degree preferred.
  • Requirement of 4 years of experiences of organizing and analyzing progressively more complex data centric projects in a healthcare setting (particularly RCTs) using health data such as surveys, registries, claims/clinical data and/or other large, complex relational databases
  • Experience in verifying, documenting, cleaning and analyzing large data files on UNIX/LINUX system and strong organizational/project management skills are required
  • Familiarity with data management routines, research protocols, coding conventions and broad knowledge of statistical tools is required
  • Ability to work both independently and with a team and to prioritize tasks with excellent verbal and written communication skills is required
  • Proficiency in SAS and SQL is required; additional skills in Statistical programming such as STATA and R is strongly preferred. Experiences in Electronic Health Records such as Clarity/EPIC database are a plus
Job Location – City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

Perelman School of Medicine

Pay Range

$72,837.00 – $205,981.00

Working Conditions
Office, Library, Computer Room

Physical Effort
Typically sitting at desk or table

Affirmative Action Statement 
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements 
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Apply here
jeffrey rewley headshot

CHIBE Q&A: Jeffrey Rewley, PhD, MS

By | CHIBEblog
jeffrey rewley headshotJeffrey Rewley, PhD, MS, is an advanced fellow in health services research, working with the Nudge Unit at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) at the Philadelphia VA Medical center.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently involved in two secondary analyses of the STEP UP trial completed by the Nudge Unit last September. The first examines how team diversity affects participants’ response to the gamification intervention. The second uses a natural experiment within the intervention to assess participants’ loss aversion in the face of gamification rewards.
What research area would you like to see explored more?
I’ve recently become interested in what leads to maintenance of behavior change after an intervention is over. In a subgroup analysis of another gamification intervention completed by the Nudge Unit, I found that people who recruited their spouses into the study with them were able to significantly maintain weight loss months after the study ended. I therefore want to study social interventions for behavior change, but focus on maintaining behavior change as a primary endpoint rather than only at the end of the intervention period (the intervention with the greatest main effect might not have the best maintenance over time).
What got you interested in behavioral economics?
I came across the work of Mitesh Patel and the Nudge Unit while in graduate school for epidemiology and found a framework that could be used to design a number of social network interventions. The gamification and mobile app contexts of many of the trials would directly improve many interventions we currently use in social network analysis, which I believe will lead to more effective, longer-lasting programs for behavior change.
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We’re Hiring! Graphic Designer for PAIR/CHIBE

By | CHIBEblog
Apply Here

CHIBE and PAIR are hiring a graphic designer to join the team. See more details below:

Job Title

Graphic Designer PAIR/CHIBE

Job Description Summary

The Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) seek to jointly hire a graphic designer to support the creative and design needs of both organizations. The graphic designer will work collaboratively with the communications managers and leadership from both Centers on digital deliverables (web, social, presentations, publications) and print materials.

Job Description

The Graphic Designer will contribute to the creation of clear, engaging, and professional communications tools and visual templates including but not limited to: 1) print collateral such as flyers, letterhead, conference programs and annual/executive reports; and 2) digital assets such as Center websites, logos, infographics, presentations, social media content and figures, tables, and conceptual diagrams for publications and proposals. He or she will design and implement original and existing templates based on graphic standards to maintain consistent branding within Centers. The graphic designer will actively participate in meetings with communications professionals and researchers to translate innovative and conceptual ideas into a visual medium. He or she will work collaboratively to determine visual strategies and production plans and be responsible for reviewing designs and proofs for errors before printing or publishing them. He or she will be tasked with curating and maintaining a visual asset library that will include style guides, logos, templates, photographs, stock images, and videos.

Candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, digital media, or a closely related field and 3-5 years of graphic design experience or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Other required skills and experience include expertise in Adobe Creative Suite applications, experience managing multiple and varied projects simultaneously, and a demonstrated ability to use feedback from multiple team members to hone and improve designs. Candidates must be team oriented, self-motivated, highly organized, and strong communicators. Candidates with photo and video editing skills will be preferred. Working knowledge of HTML and experience managing content for a content management system website will also be considered a plus. All candidates must submit a portfolio to demonstrate technical and creative skills.

This position is contingent upon grant funding.

Job Location

Philadelphia, PA

Department/School

Perelman School of Medicine

Pay Range

$42,953 to $77,315

Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Apply Here
Scott Halpern headshot

Scott Halpern Named John M. Eisenberg Professor in Medicine

By | CHIBEblog

Scott Halpern headshotScott Halpern, MD, PhD, a member of CHIBE’s leadership team, has been named the inaugural John M. Eisenberg Professor in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Halpern, also a Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and of Epidemiology, is the founding Director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center, a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), and a practicing critical care physician at HUP.

After graduating from Duke University, Dr. Halpern completed medical school, graduate school, residency in Internal Medicine, and fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine all at Penn. He joined Penn’s faculty in 2009, was promoted to Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, with tenure, in 2015, and to Professor in 2018.

Dr. Halpern’s research seeks to develop and test interventions to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of health care delivery for patients with serious and critical illnesses. This work has been supported by more than two dozen grants, including most recently a P30 grant from the National Institute on Aging to establish the Penn Roybal Center on Palliative Care in Dementia. He has been nationally recognized with awards such as AcademyHealth’s Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leader Award, the American Federation for Medical Research’s Outstanding Investigator Award, and the Association of Clinical and Translational Science’s Distinguished Investigator Award. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Here at Penn Medicine, Dr. Halpern has received the Marjorie A. Bowman New Investigator Award, the Samuel Martin Health Evaluation Sciences Research Award, and this past year, the Arthur K. Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in recognition of his unique commitment to mentorship, including service as the primary mentor on 8 active “K” career development awards for Penn faculty.

About the John M. Eisenberg Professorship

The John M. Eisenberg professorship was made possible by the generosity of Janet and John Haas, who have been long-time supporters of the University and Penn Medicine and have championed numerous strategic initiatives advancing Penn’s mission. Dr. Janet Haas is also a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and Vice Chair of Patient Care for The Power of Penn Medicine Campaign. Reflecting the Haas’s enduring selflessness, in endowing the Eisenberg professorship they asked Dr. Halpern to choose whose name it would bear. After consulting with trusted colleagues who knew Dr. John M. Eisenberg well, the choice became easy.

Before his untimely death in 2002 at the age of 55, John Eisenberg made countless lasting contributions to Penn and to health care nationwide. Dr. Eisenberg spent 20 years at Penn as a resident in Internal Medicine, a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, a Wharton MBA student, a faculty member who was universally regarded as an exceptional investigator, clinician, and mentor, and as the founding Chief of Penn’s Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Eisenberg went on to become the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University before becoming the Director of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 1997. His 1986 book Doctors’ Decisions and the Cost of Medical Care is still widely regarded as one of the seminal treatises in the field of medical decision making. More generally, his work was foundational in establishing the field of health services research.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, University Professor of Population Health and Health Equity and CHIBE Internal Advisory Board member, noted that “Like Scott, John Eisenberg is a trailblazer and a mentor par excellence. In his short life John helped to create a new field and nurture the next generation of its leaders. Already, Scott is having the same influence on his field and its future leaders.”

Numerous tributes to Dr. Eisenberg were written after his death by colleagues in academia and public service. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shala wrote, “When we had neither an assistant secretary of health nor a surgeon general, John stepped in, and it was a period of great fun and progress. He coached the youngest among us. He was integrity itself.” Former U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy noted, “There are few in this world who can say that their work has helped millions of people have fuller, better lives. But John was in that extraordinary group of people who have done so much for so many.”

CHIBE To Establish First-of-its-Kind HIV ‘Nudge Unit’ in South Africa

By | CHIBEblog

Photo of Alison and Harsha headshots togetherTwo CHIBE directors have received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a first-of-its-kind nudge unit focused on HIV prevention in South Africa.

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Witwatersrand’s Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE²RO) and CHIBE are launching Indlela: Behavioural Insights for Better Health. (“Indlela” means “the way” or “the path” in Zulu.) Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, Associate Director of CHIBE, and Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, Associate Director of CHIBE, will co-lead this three-year initiative with their colleagues at HE²RO.

In the past decade, a number of governments and health systems globally have used behavioral science and rapid-testing of interventions to improve the efficiency of programs by forming “nudge units” to help develop low-cost interventions that have successfully resulted in behavior change and improve health care delivery. The Indlela Unit is founded on the premise that there is plenty of potential for behavioral interventions to make a difference for HIV prevention in South Africa.

“I’ve seen nudge units be spectacularly successful at addressing behavioral barriers in multiple policy domains in high-income countries,” Dr. Buttenheim said. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to partner with researchers and HIV service providers in South Africa in leveraging the same behavioral science strategies and toolkits to improve testing and treatment outcomes.”

In the Indlela Unit’s first 3 years, the focus will be on (a) building capacity to expand the use of behavioral economics within HIV prevention and treatment programs in South Africa, and (b) strengthening the ability of health service delivery providers and researchers to develop and test contextually appropriate interventions that are informed by behavioral science principles. In future years, the unit’s scope will expand beyond HIV to include other pressing public health issues in South Africa.

The main objectives of the Indlela Unit will be to:

  1. Increase knowledge and application of key behavioral economics insights among organizations delivering or supporting the delivery of health and HIV services.
  2. Strengthen the technical capacity of local institutions to support government and implementing partners in developing and testing behavioral economics solutions.

The Indlela Unit will initially focus on developing and testing behavioral solutions that increase uptake of HIV testing, linkage to HIV care, re-engagement in HIV care. Over time, the team sees significant potential for the focus to expand to other health-related problems that are influenced by human behavior. The Indlela Unit will begin by undertaking the following activities during the first 3 years beginning in 2020:

  1. Workshops for researchers, HIV service delivery providers and those supporting implementation of the HIV program. These will introduce principles of behavioral economics with concrete examples of how they can be used to develop simple, low-cost interventions. The unit seeks to engage researchers, implementing organizations, and officials from provincial and national governments.
  2. Supported pilot grants. This will support sustained engagement with workshop stakeholders and practical application of behavioral economics. We will oversee a pilot grant program in which researchers and implementers who participate in the workshops can test behavioral interventions in HIV testing and care.

“This grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides an opportunity to greatly enhance the use and impact of behavioral economics ideas in ongoing efforts to reduce the burden of HIV in South Africa. We look forward to working with colleagues at HE²RO and other organizations that lead HIV research and implementation,” Dr. Thirumurthy said.

In addition to serving as an Associate Director of CHIBE, Dr. Thirumurthy is also an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr. Buttenheim is the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women’s Health, Associate Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Associate Professor of Health Policy in the Division of Health Policy in Perelman School of Medicine, and also Director of Engagement at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

David Asch, Marissa Sharif Honored in Center for Advanced Hindsight’s Awards

By | CHIBEblog

The Center for Advanced Hindsight created its first annual Hindsight Awards, which ranks the best of last year’s articles, podcasts, talks, newsletters, and more.

Best TED Talk of 2019 was given to Dan Ariely’s “How to Change Your Behavior for the Better,” while CHIBE’s David Asch got 2nd place with his talk titled “Why It’s So Hard to Make Healthy Decisions.” The 3rd place was given to Charlotte Blank’s “Lead Like a Scientist: Experiments are Key to Unleashing Potential.”

Another CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Marissa Sharif received 2nd place in the Best Academic Article category for her paper “Nudging persistence after failure through emergency reserves.” First place went to “The demotivating effect (and unintended message) of awards,” and 3rd place went to “Improving acceptability of nudges: Learning from attitudes towardsopt-in and opt-out policies.”

Watch David Asch’s video below:

Behavioral Scientist logo

CHIBE Members Appear in Behavioral Scientist’s “Imagining the Next Decade of Behavioral Science”

By | CHIBEblog

As we enter the 2020s, Behavioral Scientist put together a collection of ideas about what the next decade of behavioral science will tackle. The online magazine called for “hopes, fears, predictions, open questions, and big ideas” and received more than 120 submissions.

CHIBE Associate Directors Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, and Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, as well as George Loewenstein, PhD, a member of CHIBE’s leadership team, and Katy Milkman, PhD, a CHIBE-affiliated faculty member, were featured in this collection titled “Imagining the Next Decade of Behavioral Science.” See their projects and ideas below.

From Drs. Buttenheim and Thirumurthy:

Photo of Alison and Harsha headshots together“South Africa has the world’s largest HIV epidemic, with 7.2 million HIV-positive people, 19 percent HIV prevalence, and 740 new infections every day. Scientific breakthroughs and widely available prevention and treatment services have made it possible to end the epidemic, but success is hindered by the “last mile” challenge of human behavior. Due to common psychological barriers, decision-making factors, and information gaps, many people do not utilize available health services. Nearly one in three HIV-positive people are unaware of their status or not taking treatment regularly. 

We believe behavioral insights can generate durable and disruptive solutions that will motivate people to use HIV prevention and treatment services and end the epidemic in South Africa. Working with implementing partners countrywide, we envision comprehensive behavioral interventions that: (1) address inertia, procrastination, and other behavioral barriers with strategically-designed rewards; (2) leverage social influence and social networks to persuade those hardest-to-reach and at highest risk to test and link to care; and (3) reframe HIV prevention messages to make salient the transformative potential of treatment and prevention. If we deploy these low-cost solutions now, at scale, we can end the world’s largest HIV epidemic while creating a model that could be replicated in other countries.”

From Kate Wallis, MD, MPH, (from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and PolicyLab) and Dr. Buttenheim:

“The 2010s saw a growing recognition of the role of implicit bias in exacerbating racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The 2020s provide an opportunity to do something about it. In particular, incorporating insights about implicit bias into behavioral economics can target these health care disparities directly. 

Robust research demonstrates that health care providers’ implicit biases, or unconscious and involuntary attitudes that can influence behavior, can result in variation in the care they provide. Newer strategies, such as mindfulness and stereotype replacement, have shown promise in reducing the effect of implicit biases on decision-making. 

By incorporating implicit bias as a recognized cognitive bias (such as those in the “cognitive bias codex”), we can add implicit bias–reduction strategies into the toolbox of behavioral-economics approaches to address clinical decision-making. For example, health care providers may rely on unconscious racial biases to make decisions about the likelihood of a particular diagnosis in a given patient. We can counter this inaccurate statistical discrimination by teaching clinicians to reimagine their prototypical patient with that condition as someone from a traditionally under-recognized group.

The 2020s can be the decade we move beyond diagnosing the biases underlying health care disparities, to making headway to achieve health equity.”

From Dr. Loewenstein:

george loewenstein headshot“Herbert Simon, the Nobel-winning psychologist at Carnegie Mellon, noted in the 1960s that attention is becoming the most significant scarce resource in an increasingly information-rich world. I believe that the next decade will be the period in which the behavioral and social sciences finally embrace Simon’s insight, at both a theoretical and empirical level. This will involve, for example, understanding the function and operation of motivational feeling-states such as boredom, flow, and curiosity that evolved to allocate attention efficiently.

These motives—e.g., boredom, flow, and curiosity—increasingly drive economic activity because more and more work is intellective, not physical, and because most internet business models involve directing users’ attention toward targeted content such as advertising. Attention is also directed by hedonic motivations, such as the desire to not think about things that make us feel bad and to pay attention to information that fits with what we currently believe and want to believe, and these motivations play a central role in phenomena such as political polarization. 

For hundreds of years, economics has focused on material resources (land, labor, capital) and time because they carry prices and can easily be measured. But, except for those living at subsistence, most of what matters to people “happens in the head,” and the economic importance of cognitive resources relative to material ones will only grow with predictable advancements in information technologies. Accordingly, the social and behavioral sciences need to develop a better understanding of the constraints and tradeoffs facing the brain, and their consequences for the rapidly evolving age of information.”

From Dr. Milkman:

Katy Milkman headshot“If I could dream up a perfect decade for behavioral scientists, we would:

  1. Focus more on improving lives with behavioral science, bringing our knowledge to bear on an even wider range of pressing social problems than in past decades (from income inequality to crime to homelessness to climate change to the obesity epidemic).
  2. Make a dent in understanding what changes behavior in a lasting way rather than what works to encourage just one or two good choices.
  3. See a growth of “big science,” or expansive team efforts to advance knowledge.
  4. Embrace a broader range of fields and ideas in our daily work, not just psychology and economics but also neuroscience, sociology, philosophy, and computer science, for example.
  5. See near-universal adoption of frameworks that ensure our science is robust and reproducible such as pre-registration and open sharing of study stimuli and data.
  6. Raise our ethical standards, recognizing that as more and more private data becomes available, we must vigilantly protect the welfare of those whose choices we study.”

Read the full collection of ideas on Behavioral Scientist.

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CHIBE Q&A with Deborah Cousins, MSPH, PMP

By | CHIBEblog
deborah cousins headshotDeborah Cousins, MSPH, PMP, is a project manager overseeing projects in Dr. Amol Navathe‘s portfolio. This portfolio includes projects related to alternative payment models, financial and non-financial incentive design to drive clinician practice change, and informatics to improve health care delivery.
What do you find rewarding about working at CHIBE?
The first thing that comes to mind is how great it is to interact and collaborate with CHIBE staff and faculty. Everyone, regardless of their role, is focused on our primary mission of informing health policy, improving health care delivery, and increasing healthy behavior. Knowing that we are all working together toward such important goals has had a positive impact on my work satisfaction.
Another rewarding aspect of working at CHIBE is the opportunity for life-long learning. CHIBE has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining an educated and engaged workforce by encouraging staff to acquire proficiency in behavioral economics techniques and concepts. CHIBE sponsors an array of lectures and talks led by researchers in the field of behavioral economics from Penn and other institutions. Also, last semester I was fortunate to participate in a behavioral economics class led by CHIBE’s Associate Director Dr. Allison Buttenheim
What’s something that people may not know about you?
Many people would not know that I am a published singer-songwriter. When I have time, which is more and more difficult with family demands, I sometimes perform these songs in public as a solo artist or in a duet/trio.