The Healthy Nudge
November 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.
How to form a pandemic pod to get you through winter
couple masked outside
The Washington Post interviewed CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Carolyn Cannuscio, ScD, about the safest way to form a pandemic pod, where members of the group follow strict guidelines (eg, wearing masks and social distancing), allowing the pod to socialize together in a more relaxed way. Podmates should not be “casual friends,” Cannuscio said. “These have to be people you can share very intimate conversations with.” Before committing to a pod, Cannuscio recommends asking others about their daily routines and how many people they come face-to-face with on a daily or weekly basis. She also suggested regular check-ins with your podmates to see if the set-up is still working. Read the interview here.
Can nudges and machine learning help oncologists increase the rate of serious illness conversations?
hand holding
A new study in JAMA Oncology led by Christopher Manz, MD, and involving several CHIBE members (Ravi B. Parikh, MD, MPP, FACP; Dylan S. Small, PhD; Justin E. Bekelman, MD, and Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS) explores the effect of delivering machine learning mortality predictions with behavioral nudges to oncology clinicians on the rate of serious illness conversations with patients with cancer. "The intervention led to a significant increase in serious illness conversations from approximately 1% to 5% of all patient encounters and from approximately 4% to 15% of encounters with patients having high predicted mortality risk," the study authors found. Read the study here.
Exploring behavioral phenotyping and physical activity interventions
A new study in PLOS One finds that behavioral phenotyping can highlight differences in intervention response and identify those who are most likely to benefit from specific interventions. This study, led by Xisui Shirley Chen, MD, (and involving CHIBE members Amol S. Navathe, MD, PhD; Kristin A. Linn, PhD, MStat; Mohan Balachandran, MA, MS; and Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS) looked at the STEP-UP trial and the association between behavioral phenotypes and response to a physical activity intervention using gamification and social incentives. Read the study here.
Team to look at racial bias in a VA algorithm for high-risk veterans
A team involving several CHIBE members recently had a VA Merit (R01) grant selected for funding: “Racial Bias in a VA Algorithm for High-Risk Veterans.” The team members involved are: CHIBE's Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, (PI); Kristin Linn, MStat, PhDRavi Parikh, MD, MPP, FACP; Helen (Jiali) Yan, MSplus Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD; Sumedha Chhatre, PhD; and Matt Maciejewski, PhD. This project looks at how VA clinical risk scores may systematically underestimate risk for Black veterans, and it aims to develop approaches to mitigate this risk including incorporating social determinants of health into these metrics. Read more here.
Team to study implementation of behavioral intervention for HIV care in Philly clinics
Congratulations to Florence Momplaisir, MD, MSHP, FACP; Robert Gross, MD, MSCE; and CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Rinad Beidas, PhD; who recently received an R01 as Multi-PIs from the National Institute on Nursing Research to study the implementation of the Managed Problem Solving (MAPS) behavioral intervention in Philadelphia clinics serving people living with HIV. The team will test an adapted MAPS to address both adherence to medication and care retention. Read more here.
Drs. Buttenheim and Milkman make Forbes' list of 10 behavioral scientists you should know
CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Katy Milkman, PhD, and Associate Director Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, were named to Forbes' list of 10 behavioral scientists people should know. “These 10 behavioral scientists are shining examples of impact in health, their work spanning from experimentation to implementation,” author Aline Holzwarth wrote. “…[T]hese leading behavioral scientists are making the change they want to see in the world.” Read more here.
Dr. Milkman named Habit Weekly's content person of the year
Congratulations to CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Katy Milkman, PhD, who was named Habit Weekly’s Content Person of the Year. Habit Weekly is a behavioral design newsletter by Samuel Salzer. This Content Person of the Year award is given to an individual who has been “the best at sharing insights and making positive content contributions to the field during the past year,” according to Habit Weekly. Read more here.
Dr. Venkataramani launches Opportunity for Health
CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD, has launched the Opportunity for Health Lab, whose mission is to eliminate health disparities by bolstering economic opportunity. The lab seeks to understand how the American Dream affects America’s health and to identify and develop policies that improve access to the American Dream and boost population health. The team believes that “Economic opportunity—the extent to which one’s income does not depend on that of their parents’—is good for health.” Learn more on the Opportunity for Health Lab website, and follow the lab on Twitter @OppforHealthLab.
Dr. Navathe launches Payment Insight Team
CHIBE Associate Director Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, has launched the Payment Insights Team, an interdisciplinary team of experts based in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that uses insights from economics and behavioral science to analyze existing policy effects and design, test, and evaluate financial and non-financial interventions that can improve care in pragmatic, real-world settings. The team collaborates with health insurer, health system, physician practice and policymaker partners to achieve organizational and societal goals of greater health care value and equity. Learn more on the Payment Insights Team's new website, and follow the team on Twitter @PayInsightsTeam.
CHIBE Q&A: J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, APN, RN, FAAN
Learn more about one of our newest CHIBE-affiliated faculty members J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, APN, RN, FAAN, an Associate Professor of Nursing and Africana Studies and a Senior Fellow and Researcher in the Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

What projects are you working on now?
Most recently, our research team is working to address the disproportionate risk borne by low-income individuals with multiple chronic conditions who are transitioning to home from hospitals. While social conditions such as inadequate housing and food insecurity impact post-hospitalization recovery, so too does system issues such as poor care coordination and a lack of communication between inpatient and community-based providers. To address these health care delivery concerns, I am leading an interdisciplinary team in the implementation of a delivery system innovation called THRIVE, which supports the clinical and social needs of low-income individuals returning home after a hospital admission. Our future goal is to integrate principles of behavioral economics to support the scale and expansion of THRIVE. 

What's one thing you find rewarding or challenging about your work?
The biggest challenge about my work in this particular moment is coping with the social isolation that working virtually brings. I think that I took for granted the human connection that working in team-based research provides. At the same time, there are rewards such as seeing projects like THRIVE move from a small-scale project to one that is gaining more traction every day.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a mom of three sons and enjoy outdoors activities (biking/hiking) and watching sports, primarily basketball.
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

Listen to a panel of experts as they discuss key issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccine distribution and uptake. Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, will moderate.
December 4, 12-1 PM ET

Michael Draugelis, Chief Data Scientist at Penn Medicine, and ThaiBinh Luong, PhD, Data Scientist for Predictive Healthcare and CHIBE
December 10, 12-1 PM ET
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.