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David A. Asch, MD, MBA

David A. Asch, MD, MBA

Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Perelman School of Medicine

John Morgan Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine|Professor of Health Care Management and Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions, Wharton School|Member of CHIBE’s Internal Advisory Board


David Asch is the Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Perelman School of Medicine and the John Morgan Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. Dr. Asch’s research aims to improve how physicians and patients make medical choices in clinical and financial settings, including the adoption of new pharmaceuticals or medical technologies, the purchase of insurance, and personal health behaviors. His research combines elements of economic analysis with psychological theory and consumer marketing in the field now called behavioral economics. He is the author of more than 350 published papers and has won numerous national awards for teaching, scholarship, and mentorship.  He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. From 1998 to 2012 he was Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the largest university-based health policy research program in the world.  He created and from 2001 to 2012 directed the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion—the Department of Veterans Affairs’ national center to support vulnerable populations and reduce racial disparities. Since 2012, he has directed health care innovation at Penn Medicine, a 6-hospital system with nearly 3,000 beds, 6 million annual outpatient visits, and over 7,000 physicians.  Defining projects include transforming approaches to primary care services, including the identification and management of hypertension, new approaches to managing digital information flows for better clinical care and reduced clinician burden, the development of information technology platforms to better engage patients and their families in the management of acute and chronic disease (including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, heart failure, chronic lung disease, cirrhosis and others), targeted activities to reduce the use of tobacco and increase the uptake of effective cancer screening, and reshaping employee health benefit designs for greater value and employee satisfaction. These advances have been accomplished by deploying teams of clinicians, designers, developers, behavioral scientists, and project managers within an operating provider organization and aimed toward fundamental clinical problems like hospital length of stay, patient experience, scheduling, admissions and readmissions, reducing low value care and increasing high value care, and easing clinician burden. Some of these innovations and the processes used to support them have been documented in a series of articles published in The New England Journal of Medicine, including: “What business are we in?” “Automated hovering in health care,” “Insourcing health care innovation,” “Innovation as discipline, not fad,” “Asymmetric thinking about return on investment,” “Engineering social incentives for health,” “Subscribing to your patients—reimagining the future of electronic health records.” He is founding partner of the behavioral economics consulting firm, VAL Health. Dr. Asch received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his MD from Weill-Cornell Medical College. He was a resident in Internal Medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and received his MBA in Health Care Management and Decision Sciences from the Wharton School.