The Healthy Nudge
July 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 .
Using Behavioral Economics in Contact Tracing Efforts
How can behavioral economics insights help optimize and implement contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic? Read this NEJM Catalyst paper (led by CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Rinad Beidas, PhD ) that explores how behavioral economics can enhance contact tracing’s effectiveness and promote adherence to isolation and quarantine.
Cognitive Bias in the COVID-19 Response
Cognitive biases, such as optimism bias, present bias, omission bias, and the "identifiable victim effect" have affected public health policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE , (a member of CHIBE's leadership team) and his colleagues. Read more in this JAMA Viewpoint.
Message Framing in Smoking Cessation Treatment
"Insights from behavioral economics suggest that the effectiveness of health messages depends on how a message is framed," writes CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Brian Jenssen, MD, MSHP . In this Pediatrics paper , he and his colleagues looked at parents’ perceptions about message framings to encourage smoking cessation and found that messages that emphasized the impact on their child (and outcomes related to respiratory health, cancer, or general health) were seen as important. Read this AAP news article for more coverage.
CHIBE Q&A: Eugenia South, MD, MS
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Read CHIBE’s Q&A with Eugenia C. South, MD, MS , Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

How would you describe your work environment right now as an emergency medicine physician during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Emergency medicine physicians were trained for a time such as COVID-19. Everyday, we work in a sort of organized chaos. We take care of critically ill patients, often with little background or knowledge about their history. We make quick, life-saving decisions. And everyday we see the downstream effects of structural barriers to health. I was incredibly proud to see our department lead on many levels to manage the COVID-19 response for Penn. On a personal level, one of the most challenging aspects of the initial days of the pandemic was uncertainty around availability of proper PPE. This was an issue across the country and remains an issue. I worried — will I catch COVID-19? Will I bring it home to my family? Will I die? Thankfully, this is no longer an issue at Penn, but I will never forget the feeling of wondering if I was safe at work.

Can you tell us about your partnership with Harriett’s Bookshop ?
At the start of the pandemic, when businesses were forced to close their doors, I was very concerned for small businesses, especially those that are minority owned. Would they survive? I decided to support Harriett’s Bookshop — a local bookstore recently opened by an amazing Black woman Jeannine Cook — with book giveaways on Twitter. Then, she came to me with the idea for Essentials for Essentials: a way to provide front-line health care workers with books, which are the ultimate getaway in a time of stress. Fifty health care workers in the PMC and HUP emergency departments choose a book they wanted, she put it online, and within 9 hours, kindhearted strangers had bought the books. Win-win-win. She expanded to other departments and hospitals.

What’s on your mind right now as a Black emergency medicine physician in Philadelphia, and what kind of real change do you hope comes of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations?
So much. Before George Floyd was killed and before the nation erupted in protests to end police brutality and in support of Black lives, many White people thought racism was a relic of the past, or just the rare actions of a few bad people. The truth is that racism is an insidious, pervasive, and constant feature of how our society is organized (including at Penn Medicine). It affects me and my Black and Brown colleagues. It affects trainees. It affects our Black patients. So I am asking all of us right now: Are we ready to do the hard work, look inward, and truly become an antiracist organization? Or are we going to settle for symbolic gestures devoid of action? I am hopeful for the former, which will take resources, commitment, and a willingness to sit in our discomfort in acknowledging the constant presence of racism in our lives.
David Asch Wins AcademyHealth's Distinguished Career Award
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Congratulations to David Asch, MD, MBA , who has won AcademyHealth's Distinguished Career Award . AcademyHealth’s highest career award recognizes "leaders who have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research through advancement of science and methods, leadership, mentorship, scholarship and teaching, and the application of health services and policy evidence to improve health and health care."
Dr. Asch was also the PI for the study that won AcademyHealth's Publication-of-the-Year Award. The NEJM article " Patient Safety Outcomes Under Flexible and Standard Resident Duty-Hour Rules " was authored by (CHIBE members in bold): Jeffrey H. Silber, Lisa M. Bellini, Judy A. Shea , Sanjay V. Desai, David F. Dinges, Mathias Basner, Orit Even-Shoshan, Alexander S. Hill, Lauren L. Hochman, Joel T. Katz, Richard N. Ross, David M. Shade, Dylan S. Small, Alice L. Sternberg, James Tonascia, Kevin G. Volpp, and David A. Asch.
Dr. Asch is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Care Innovation, the John Morgan Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of CHIBE's Internal Advisory Board.
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 .
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.