The Healthy Nudge
January 2021
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.
'Creating Habit Formation for Behaviors'
This special issue in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes called “Creating Habit Formation for Behaviors” may help you with your New Year's resolutions to exercise more, eat better, or keep up with a new healthy habit.

In 2019, CHIBE and the Behavior Change for Good Initiative hosted a roundtable discussion supported by WW to discuss how to create healthy habits and lasting behavior change. This supplemental issue, which was edited by Katherine Milkman, PhD (a CHIBE-affiliated faculty member); Dilip Soman, PhD, MBA; and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD (CHIBE Director), explores the topics presented at that event.

Don’t miss the editorial by Drs. Milkman, Soman, and Volpp, as well as research articles from CHIBE members such as Gretchen Chapman, PhD; Angela Duckworth, PhD, MBA, MSc; George Loewenstein, PhD; doctoral student Erika Kirgios, and more.
Strategies to help manage healthy eating and exercise
measuring tape
The Penn Prevention Research Center, directed by CHIBE’s Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, has developed 2 toolkits based on the Healthy Weigh study, which compared the effectiveness of different strategies for long-term weight loss management among adults. In one arm of this trial, participants were sent texts with ideas on how to change their environments to eat healthier and to be more active. You can find the first toolkit here, which contains the most useful environmental tips and tools from our study based on study participants’ reactions. The second toolkit contains guidance and tips on how to use scales in weight loss studies.
A look at substitutions following Philly beverage tax
bags of chips
Was Philadelphia's 1.5 cents/ounce beverage tax associated with substitutions to snacks, nontaxed beverage concentrates, and alcohol? A new paper in American Journal of Preventive Medicine led by CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Laura Gibson, PhD, explores this question.
In Memoriam: Sandy Vanderslice
Sandy Vanderslice
CHIBE would like to remember our beloved friend and colleague Sandra Vanderslice.

Sandy was an integral member of our community, who never hesitated to help others. While Sandy was a superb employee for us since 2017, she was much more than that to us. She filled a special role within our department — she was someone who was always available to provide sage advice or a friendly smile. She provided levity when needed, comfort when it was sought, and a sense of camaraderie to pull us together as a team. Read our tributes to Sandy here.
Scott Halpern Named Hastings Center Fellow
Congratulations to Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE, John M. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and CHIBE Internal Advisory Board Member, who has been elected as a new Hastings Center fellow.

Dr. Halpern joins more than 200 fellows whose work has “informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology.”
CHIBE Q&A: Victor Lei, PharmD, MSHP
Learn more about Victor Lei, PharmD, MSHP, a Senior Research Scientist at CHIBE.

What projects are you working on these days?
I work under Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, where my main effort is currently focused on helping a collaborator (Hawaii Medical Service Association) understand their high cost member populations to develop new care models and interventions. Over the past few months, we have been particularly interested in patients with serious illnesses (i.e. conditions that have high risk of mortality and either negatively impacts a patient's daily function or quality of life). We believe such patients would benefit from earlier palliative care and assessments for hospice. Our team's role is to help our collaborators identify the area of opportunity, define screening criteria, and help design an intervention pilot. Outside of that project, I have been finishing up some deliverables/manuscripts for some machine learning and behavioral science projects.

How has the pandemic affected your work?
Luckily all of my work can be done remotely, but it definitely has taken some time to adjust to all virtual meetings and the lack of a separate work office. I still feel like I am not operating at 100% even though it has been almost a year since the transition to remote work. The thing I miss most is the unplanned social interactions and academic conversations with my colleagues.

How has your pharmacy degree helped or informed your work?
My pharmacy degree has helped me tremendously with my work. I am often using my clinical background to help define the appropriate methods and analyses for our projects. My additional training in clinical informatics allows me to be a liaison between the clinical and technical members within our teams. I find this helps our teams work more effectively and efficiently.
January 28 from 12 to 1 PM EST
Rinad Beidas, PhD, and Nathaniel Williams, PhD, LCSW, will join the Health Policy/CHIBE community for a Work-In-Progress Research Seminar.
Penn Online Education Courses
February 2 – March 1, 2021
Foundations of Behavioral Economics
Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD
Noncredit, professional development course

Clinicians, care teams, administrators, payers, digital health teams, entrepreneurs, and researchers may benefit from this professional development opportunity. Learn more and enroll here!


Penn faculty, staff, and graduate and professional students are invited to take this online, master's-level course with CHIBE's Director. Find out how to sign up for this course or others on Penn's Master of Health Care Innovation website.

March 2–April 12, 2021
Behavioral Economics and Decision Making
Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD

Course description: Behavioral economics provides a framework for understanding how humans make decisions within the health care system. Students will be able to demonstrate how key concepts in behavioral economics are used, critique existing programs, design new approaches, and apply lessons to challenges they face in their work environments.
Employees may be able to apply tuition benefits.
Selected Media Coverage
Selected 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.