The Healthy Nudge
November 2019
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 directors seek to combat HIV in South Africa using behavioral insights
Two CHIBE directors are leading a team that has proposed to use behavioral insights to end the world’s largest HIV epidemic. Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA , Interim Director of the Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics, and Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD , Associate Director of CHIBE, are vying for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition, a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving one of the most critical problems of our time. Their proposal addresses “last mile” problems that hinder efforts to end South Africa’s HIV epidemic by implementing proven behavioral interventions that will increase individuals’ utilization of highly effective, widely available HIV services and shut down HIV transmission. Learn more here and watch a video about their project here.
CHIBE and PAIR awarded Roybal Centers
The National Institute on Aging has awarded Roybal Centers to CHIBE Director Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, and Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE, Director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research ( PAIR) Center. The goal of the Roybal Center program is the translation and integration of basic behavioral and social research findings into interventions to improve the lives of older people and the capacity of institutions to adapt to societal aging. Penn is the only institution to be awarded two Roybal Centers. Learn more about the two centers here, and watch a video here .
CHIBE annual report: 2018-2019
We invite you to take a look at CHIBE's 2018-2019 annual report , which showcases some of our programs, partnerships, achievements, and projects. This is our center's 11th year investigating behavioral economic interventions to improve public health.
CHIBE Profile: Erica Dixon, PhD
Erica Dixon, PhD, is a project manager working on research projects related to 1115 Medicaid waivers, health policy, and cognition and aging.
What projects are you currently involved in?
I work primarily with Dr. Volpp and Dr. Venkataramani on an evaluation of Kentucky’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, most widely known for introducing community engagement/work requirements as a requirement for able-bodied adults on Medicaid. This waiver is currently on hold pending a DC Court of Appeals decision, which has made for some interesting times in trying to evaluate! I also work with Dr. Coe on the ACTIVE study, which looks at the long-term impact of cognitive training on older adults, as well as other projects with Dr. Venkataramani.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I would say it’s a tie between getting difficult projects off the ground and making the best out of unanticipated changes to the research. Every project has difficulties translating research plans into action, and I like the challenge of figuring out how things can work to the best effect. Sometimes you just have to accept that (nearly) everything has gone wrong or off the rails, and stay determined to get the best result out of whatever you have available.

What’s an area of research that you’d like to pursue in the future?
I’m very interested in health disparities in minority populations and social determinants of health – this is an area that I think is critical to focus on in every aspect of health research from disease prevention to care delivery to insurance reform, as well as understanding the disparities and where they stem from. I’m currently working on a paper exploring LGBT health disparities in our Kentucky Medicaid population.
CHIBE In the News
Atheendar Venkataramani wins an AJPH paper of the year award
Congratulations to our center’s Atheendar Venkataramani, PhD, MD, MPhil , who has been recognized by the American Journal of Public Health for co-writing one of the best papers of the year with Kathryn E. W. Himmelstein, MD, MSEd. Their paper, titled Economic Vulnerability Among US Female Health Care Workers: Potential Impact of a $15-per-Hour Minimum Wage, finds that many female health care workers in the United States (and particularly women of color) face financial struggles, and more than 10% do not have health insurance. “I’m glad they highlighted this paper because there is growing attention around low-wage work in health care, and this study provides quantitative evidence of the challenges faced by many workers – particularly black and Latinx women – in this sector,” Dr. Venkataramani said. Read more here .
Proposals for CTSA pilot program due November 22
In partnership with the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, CHIBE is inviting proposals for Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) pilot projects from ITMAT Members and Associate Members addressing 1.) improvement of enrollment and retention in clinical trials and 2.) improvement of population health outcomes or health behavior through the use of connected health interventions. Proposals are due by Friday, November 22, 2019, for a proposal start date of January 1, 2020.
Foundations in Behavioral Economics Course
How do people’s actions and biases influence their health behaviors? And how can we influence their choices? Explore the answers with Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, in this 4-week, online professional development class. His brief lecture videos and your discussions with classmates will prompt you to consider how you can nudge patients, providers, and others to increase treatment adherence, reduce costs, and shape wellness behaviors. Learn more and sign up here. January 14-February 3, 2020 and June 2-29, 2020.
Work-in-Progress Research Seminar with Kosali Simon
November 15, 9-10 AM
416-417 Stemmler, 3450 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA

Kosali Simon, PhD, Herman B Wells Endowed Professor, Associate Vice Provost for Health Sciences, from Indiana University Bloomington, will discuss: Can Policy Affect Initiation of Addictive Substance Use? Evidence from Opioid Prescribing .”
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.