The Healthy Nudge
October 2020
Welcome to The Healthy Nudge. Each month, we'll get you up to speed on the latest developments in policy-relevant health behavioral economics research at CHIBE. Want more frequent updates? Follow us on Twitter @PennCHIBE and visit our website.
CHIBE, PAIR host joint Roybal mini-symposium
CHIBE hosted its first-ever virtual, joint Roybal mini-symposium with the Palliative and Advanced Illness Center (PAIR) on October 1-2. The event consisted of 13 research presentations, a virtual Twitter poster session, a break-out session on research values and priorities at the intersection of COVID-19 and structural racism, and a keynote address by CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Atheendar Venkataramani, PhD, MD, MPhil, on structural racism, economic opportunity, and health disparities. Read a recap of the Roybal event here.
How the food industry can invest in the health of people, communities, and the planet
Guest speakers
How can the food industry help create a healthy and equitable food system? This was the topic of discussion at a special event hosted by CHIBE, the PEACH Lab, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the Penn Prevention Research Center last month. “This conversation is particularly timely given the impact of COVID-19 on the American food system and racial strife and conversations about structural racism happening in America right now,” said Christina Roberto, PhD, Director of the PEACH Lab, who served as the moderator. The event featured 5 panelists, including Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, Surgeon General of the United States. Read a recap of the event here.
CHIBE unveils Annual Report
CHIBE is pleased to share our 2019-2020 Annual Report. In this report, you’ll find some of our top publications and news articles from the year, information about our COVID-19 research and projects, impact stories, signature programs, awards, funding portfolio, partners, and CHIBE leadership, and our external and internal advisory boards.
Testing Strategies to Increase Implementation of Safe Firearm Storage
Rinad Beidas headshot
A team that includes several CHIBE members has won an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health to test strategies to increase implementation of a universal safe firearm storage program in pediatric primary care. While the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Academy of Medicine recommend interventions to promote universal safe firearm storage, there is a need for implementation research to determine how to embed evidence-based practices in routine clinical practice. Read our Q&A with Rinad Beidas, PhD, a CHIBE-affiliated faculty member, who will serve as the PI, to learn more about this work.
Penn Launches "Bold Solutions: Dismantle Racism. Advance Health.
Penn has launched a new initiative called “Bold Solutions: Dismantle Racism. Advance Health,” which aims to fight racism within the health care system. Those leading this effort are:

“It is incumbent upon us to do what we can to improve health by focusing on populations that have been subject to systemic racism,” Dr. Volpp said. “This initiative provides a mechanism to expand our efforts to have more impact.” Learn more about the Bold Solutions group here on LDI’s site or view the group's one-pager here.
CHIBE Assists State with COVID Alert PA App
snapshot of COVID Alert PA app
CHIBE is assisting the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) with COVID Alert PA, a free app designed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. “The app uses Bluetooth to exchange anonymous IDs between phones in close proximity,” said CHIBE’s Erica Dixon, PhD. “If a person with the app tests positive for COVID, they can put in a code from PA DOH to alert those who were in close contact with them.”

The app boosts traditional contact tracing efforts, casting a wider net beyond the people that an individual knows they spent time with. It can help notify people who may have been nearby a person with the virus while standing in line at the supermarket, waiting for a bus, or in some other public area. If a user has been near a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will receive a push notification that will contain information on what to do next. Read more about the app here.
Penn Development Research Initiative Launches
CHIBE Associate Director Harsha Thirumurthy and Guy Grossman (Political Science, School of Arts & Sciences) have launched the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI), an interdisciplinary community of scholars at the University of Pennsylvania whose research seeks to identify solutions to the challenges facing developing countries. PDRI bridges 7 schools at Penn and brings together faculty and students with interests in various aspects of international development including education, health, governance, environment, gender, urbanization and migration, labor markets, poverty, and economic growth. PDRI’s affiliates and fellows work with governments, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, and researchers in many low- and middle-income countries around the world. PDRI seeks to strengthen the connections between development researchers at Penn and also expand its collaborations with development practitioners outside Penn.
CHIBE Q&A: Kristin Linn, PhD, MStat
kristin linn headshot
Get to know Kristin Linn, PhD, MStat, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Read the full Q&A here.

What projects are you working on now?
In my dissertation, I developed statistical methods for optimally tailoring interventions to individuals. Recently, I’ve been applying these methods to data from the STEP UP randomized trial (joint work with Mitesh Patel and Amol Navathe). Our goal is to develop a personalized decision rule that uses demographic, social support, and/or personality traits to assign participants to one of three interventions in a way that maximally increases individuals’ physical activity levels. I’m particularly excited about the potential for impactful methodological advances based on this type of data. For example, developing new statistical methods for precision medicine that appropriately handle missing data could lead to better insights and more effective intervention strategies in the future.

I’m also working with Amol Navathe to evaluate the effects of a new primary care payment system on cost and quality measures, and in a separate project we are investigating whether there is any empirical evidence of racial unfairness in a risk score used by the Veteran’s Association (joint with Ravi Parikh and Helen Yan). I have ongoing work with Atheen Venkataramani, Kevin Volpp, Kristen Underhill, Erica Dixon, Will Ferrell, and Lizzie Bair related to a Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver that was planned but not implemented by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Outside of CHIBE, I am an Associate Director of PennSIVE, a biomedical imaging group at Penn. A few of my imaging projects include: addressing confounding in high-dimensional data; harmonizing images from multiple scanners; fusing information from multiple imaging modalities; and personalizing transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments for depression and anxiety.

What do you find rewarding about your work?
Power calculations…kidding! One of the most satisfying feelings is when you find a bug in your code or otherwise identify an error in an analysis and the results suddenly make way more sense after you fix it. But the best part of my job is interacting with and learning from others. One reason why I enjoy working with CHIBE investigators is that they are incredibly skilled at communicating technical, scientific work to audiences with different backgrounds. I experienced this first-hand as a new faculty member when I traveled with a team of CHIBE investigators to meet with policy makers in Kentucky. I was inspired by the conversations where Kevin, Atheen, and Kristen beautifully sold the value of randomization, ensuring our team’s evaluation of the state’s new Medicaid program would be rigorous and impactful.

Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, CHIBE Associate Director and Associate Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy
October 22, 12-1 pm ET

A Virtual Conversation with Courtney Boen, PhD, MPH, Sara Jacoby, PhD, MPH, MSN, Jamila Michener, PhD, and John Rich, MD, MPH, moderated by Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD
October 16, 12–1 pm ET
A Virtual Conversation with Carmela Castellano-Garcia, JD, Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, MS, Kevin Mahoney, MBA, DBA, and Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, moderated by Rachel Werner, MD, PhD
October 23, 12–1 pm ET
A Virtual Conversation with Allison Hoffman, JD, Daniel Hopkins, PhD, and Mark Pauly, PhD, moderated by David Grande, MD, MPA
November 6, 12–1 pm ET

Aaron Schwartz, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy and Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
November 12, 12-1 pm ET
Selected Media Coverage
Selected New Publications
Kidney Stone Study at UPenn and CHOP
Do you get kidney stones? Are you trying to drink more water? Volunteers are needed for a kidney stone research study at UPenn and CHOP. The purpose of the 2-year study is to help researchers find out if drinking more fluid can help prevent future kidney stone progression and reoccurrence. Participants are provided with a ‘smart’ water bottle that automatically logs daily water intake through a phone app. Half of the participants are given a daily fluid goal. At enrollment and at end of study, adult participants will get a CT scan and adolescent participants will get a renal ultrasound. All other questionnaires and follow-up visits are conducted online and over the phone. Throughout the study, participants will occasionally complete 24-hour urine panels. In addition, participants have the potential to obtain compensation of up to $480.00.
• Aged 12 or older
• Have passed or had a kidney stone removed in the past 5 years
• Own a smart phone
• Willing to use a smart water bottle and drink more water
Remote recruitment is possible, so if you live outside Philadelphia you can still participate. If you are interested in participating or want to receive more information, please call Emily at 215-898-4897 or email
CHIBE's COVID-19 Research Projects and Media
CHIBE has launched a website showcasing all of the ways in which CHIBE faculty are involved in the response to COVID-19. Read about their research projects and activities, find media coverage, and resources. If you have a project to share with us, email us here.
The Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) at the University of Pennsylvania conducts behavioral economics research aimed at reducing the disease burden from major U.S. public health problems. Originally founded within the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, our mission is to inform health policy, improve health care delivery, and increase healthy behavior.