The Healthy Nudge
February 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 to establish first-of-its-kind HIV 'Nudge Unit' in South Africa
Two CHIBE associate directors have received a grant 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. Read more here.
Behavioral Scientist, Center for Advanced Hindsight recognize CHIBE members
Behavioral Scientist put together a collection of ideas imagining the next decade of behavioral science. 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. See their projects and ideas here .

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. In the Best TED Talk category, David Asch, MD, MBA, earned 2nd place with his talk titled Why It’s So Hard to Make Healthy Decisions .” Marissa Sharif, PhD, received 2nd place in the Best Academic Article category for her paper “ Nudging Persistence After Failure Through Emergency Reserves ." Read more here .
How digital design drives user behavior
Shlomo Benartzi, PhD, (a Behavior Change for Good Distinguished Senior Fellow) and Saurabh Bhargava, PhD, (a CHIBE-affiliated faculty member) wrote a Harvard Business Review article on how the design of the digital world can influence the quality of our decisions. This piece addresses how design can impact online enrollment decisions related to 401(k) plans and health insurance plan selection. Work by CHIBE members George Loewenstein, PhD , and Gretchen Chapman, PhD , is also cited.
CHIBE Profile: Jeffrey Rewley, PhD, MS
Jeffrey 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.
Scott Halpern Named John M. Eisenberg Professor in Medicine
Congratulations to Scott Halpern, MD, PhD , a member of CHIBE’s leadership team, who has been named the inaugural John M. Eisenberg Professor in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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. Read more here.
Funding Opportunities
Roybal Pilot Program
CHIBE invites proposals from affiliated faculty for pilot 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. The deadline for submitting applications is March 4, 2020.
Quartet Pilot Research Project Competition
CHIBE, Pension Research Council and Boettner Center, the Population Aging Research Center, and the Population Studies Center invite investigators to submit pilot proposals for the annual FY 2020-2021 Quartet Pilot Program competition.The funds are targeted to support small-scale, innovative or exploratory projects with a duration of one year. Proposals focusing on population health, life-course and healthy aging are encouraged. Apply by March 15!
Research Seminar with Jay Bhattacharya
February 14, 12 PM
Colonial Penn Center
3641 Locust Walk

Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine and a CHP/PCOR core faculty member. His seminar, cosponsored by LDI, is on “Value-Based Purchasing for Physician Services.” Learn more here .
Research Seminar with Sally Clark Stearnes
February 27 at 12 PM
416-417 Stemmler Hall
3450 Hamilton Walk

Sally Clark Stearnes, PhD, MSc, is a professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and also a health economist. Her seminar is on "Economic Aspects of Improving Oral Health Care in Nursing Homes: Results from a Cluster Randomized Trial.” Learn more here .
CHIBE In the News
ALACRITY Spotlight
Aides working with autistic students should use the evidence-based practice of systematically collecting quantitative data on children’s behavior, but they usually don’t. The App for Strengthening Services in Specialized Therapeutic Support (ASSISTS) project will test digital strategies to make data collection easier and to leverage social norms to increase motivation to collect data (leads: David Mandell, Emily Becker-Haimes, Heather Nuske). As a first step, we conducted an innovation tournament, observations, and interviews of aides in the field. This spring, the ALACRITY team will field test and refine the app. In September 2020, they will conduct a small randomized trial to test whether the app results in increased accurate data collection.
New Publications
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.