The Healthy Nudge
February 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.
How to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations
newspaper article about covid vaccines
CHIBE Director Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, spoke with Philadelphia Magazine to share 5 key strategies to boost COVID-19 vaccinations. His recommendations, briefly listed below, are discussed in depth in this Phillymag article here.

1) Make sure the vaccine is free and accessible to everyone
2) Require vaccination to access certain places
3) Encourage trusted authority figures to lead by example and get publicly vaccinated
4) Employ (digital and non-digital) vaccine sign-ups and prioritize those who commit to getting vaccinated even before doses are available
5) Find ways to make vaccination a public act (similar to "I voted" stickers)
Motivation to use, distribute COVID-19 self-test kits
Could we increase COVID-19 testing coverage by sending self-test kits to at-risk or infected individuals and encouraging them distribute test kits to contacts in their network? This study, led by Cedric Bien-Gund, MD, explored this approach and found high levels of motivation to self-test and distribute self-testing kits. CHIBE Associate Director Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, and CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Jessica Fishman, PhD, were authors on this JAMA research letter. Drs. Fishman (who directs the Message Effects Lab) and Thirumurthy are also part of a team that has been awarded NIH funding to explore strategies to increase COVID-19 testing rates. Read more on our blog.
Improving colorectal cancer screening rates
person holding cellphone
A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that serial text message reminders and opt-out mailed fecal immunochemistry test (FIT) home kits can improve colorectal cancer screening rates. The study participants in the intervention arm from an urban community health center in Philadelphia received a pre-alert text offering the option to opt out of receiving a mailed FIT kit, and then up to three behaviorally informed text message reminders. At 12 weeks, the study authors found an absolute 17.3 percentage point increase in colorectal cancer screening in the intervention arm compared to the control. The authors of this study were Sarah W. Huf, MBBS, PhD, and CHIBE members David Asch MD, MBA; Kevin Volpp MD, PhD; Catherine Reitz MPH; and Shivan Mehta, MD, MBA, MSHP.
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey retires and joins CHIBE's External Advisory Board
risa lavizzo-mourey
CHIBE honors and congratulates Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, on her retirement on January 31, 2021. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has been a tremendous force for good—and a voice for people—for our Center, the University, and the world. The impact she has had over the course of her career through her scholarship, leadership, mentorship, and example has been unparalleled. She is not finished her good work, and we are thrilled that Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey will transition from CHIBE’s Internal to External Advisory Board. She will also be moving to emeritus status with the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and will have the title of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Population Health and Health Equity Professor Emerita. Read more about Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey's career here.
Dr. Ravi Parikh wins David Yurman-PCF VAlor Young Investigator Award
Congratulations to CHIBE affiliate Ravi B. Parikh, MD, MPP, FACP, who has won the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s David Yurman-PCF VAlor Young Investigator Award. Dr. Parikh was celebrated for “developing new clinical biomarker tests that can identify which patients undergoing hormonal therapy are at risk for developing bone fractures, and should be prescribed early bone maintenance therapies.

“This will significantly improve quality-of-life for patients with advanced prostate cancer, starting with the Veteran population,” the foundation stated. Learn more here on the Prostate Cancer Foundation site.
Dr. Carmen Guerra Wins Penn Women in Medicine Award
carmen guerra
Congratulations to CHIBE-affiliated faculty member Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP, on winning Penn's Women in Medicine Award, which celebrates the commitment and contributions to advancing the education and careers of women in academic medicine by an alumna, faculty, or staff member. This award was the brainchild of Elizabeth Kirk Rose, M’26, INT’30, who started celebrating Penn's female students and alumnae back in 1962. Dr. Guerra shares the Elizabeth Kirk Rose, M’26, INT’30 Women in Medicine Award with Marie A. Bernard, MD, and Dana Beyer, MD. The three women were celebrated virtually on February 4, 2021. Read more about this recognition on the PSOM alumni site.
CHIBE Q&A with Dr. Damon Centola
damon centola
Learn more about Damon Centola, PhD, Professor of Communication, Sociology and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Network Dynamics Group. Dr. Centola is also a Senior Fellow at LDI and affiliated faculty member with CHIBE. He just published a book called Change: How to Make Big Things Happen, which you can learn more about on his website.

What made you want to write Change: How to Make Big Things Happen?
I am a sociologist who studies the way that beliefs and new ideas and movements spread through our networks and our society. The last decade in the science of networks has been very exciting. New data has allowed us to see how change actually spreads. These new insights into social change overturn many of our existing beliefs about what makes change happen. I wrote this book to share these breakthroughs with everyone. And, to share this new way of understanding the social change unfolding all around us, and hopefully to help people to create the change they want to see.
Can you share one or two strategies for building an infrastructure that promotes change or the spread of new ideas?
One of the key network strategies for building an infrastructure to spread change is to reduce centralization. In my book, I show why ideas and beliefs that reinforce existing biases spread easily in centralized networks, and why innovative ideas that challenge our biases and improve our thinking benefit from egalitarian networks in which everyone has an equal voice. Egalitarian networks allow new ideas and opinions to emerge from anywhere in the community and spread to everyone without being blocked by a powerful social star at the center of the network.

February 25 from 12 to 1 PM EST
Sarah Baird, PhD, will join the Health Policy/CHIBE community for a Work-In-Progress Research Seminar on February 25 to speak about "Using Group Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy (and Cash) to Improve the Well-Being of Adolescent Girls in Uganda.” Dr. Baird is an Associate Professor of Global Health and Economics and Vice Chair of the Department of Global Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

March 11 from 12 to 1 PM EST
Rena Conti, PhD, will join the CHIBE and LDI community for a Health Policy Work-In-Progress Research Seminar on March 11. Dr. Conti is an Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law at the Questrom School of Business, Boston University.
Penn Online Education Courses
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.