Spring 2020
This semester the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge unprecedented in our lifetimes to global health and the world economy, and locally to our health systems and Penn’s educational programs. During this time, we have been immensely moved by the dedication of our students as both clinicians and researchers. Students have stepped up, working additional clinical shifts and have altered the course of their planned research, pivoting projects to help respond to the pandemic.

This May we celebrated the achievements of our 2020-2022 Cohort virtually. At our send-off gathering, students shared their plans post-MSHP and what they feel optimistic about. While it is bittersweet to end the semester on this note, we are inspired by the work that this cohort will do to improve health services delivery around the country and world. We wish all of our students the very best.
MSHP in Summer 2020
In accordance with University policy, our summer classes are being moved online this year. In spite of this curveball, we will be offering a wide array of summer classes including: Health Care Leadership and Business Acumen, Qualitative Methods, Grant Writing, and Applied Predictive Modeling. Additionally, we plan to offer two new courses this summer-- Advanced Topics in Implementation Science (HPR 612, taught by alumna Meghan Lane-Fall '13 and Rinad Beidas ) and Pragmatic Clinical Trials (HPR 625, taught by alumna Katherine Courtright '15 ). If you are interested in registering for either of these courses or any other MSHP course, please contact MSHP Staff.
Welcoming the 2020-2022 Cohort
Our incoming cohort consists of 22 amazing students with specialties ranging from neonatalogy and geriatrics to integrated cardiac surgery. We are also excited to welcome our third generation of David A. Asch Medical Student Scholars in Health Services Research to the program: Olivia Familusi and Christopher Herrera. While our new students will be starting the program in a non-traditional way, we look forward to welcoming this new cohort to the Penn health policy research community.
Student and Alumni in the News
We continue to be inspired by the work of our current students and alumni during these unusual times. Elinore Kaufman '16 , wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times , extolling communities to stop shooting in the interest of clearing up hospital beds for COVID patients.

Current student Utsha Khatri teamed up with Anish Agarwal '19 to co-write an opinion place in the Philadelphia Inquirer appealing directly to fellow millennials to stay home to combat COVID-19. "This is going to be a long, hard fight, but we, more than any other generation, have the potential to shift the tide and make lifesaving differences. And maybe the term millennials will mean so much more when we get through this."
Select Current Student Research
Current first-year Katie Auriemma led a study published in Intensive Care Medicine exploring the mortality attributable to ARDS in sepsis patients, providing a mortality benchmark for future studies of patients with COVID-19. This study is the first to estimate the attributable mortality of ARDS patients with sepsis, a population that includes the sickest patients infected by SARS-CoV2. The study suggests that trials of ARDS-targeted therapies need to be adequately powered to identify improvements in mortality and guide decisions on trial size. The study also suggests that targeting enrollment of patients with severe ARDS may be the most effective strategy for testing interventions that successfully treat this disease and give us more tools to fight this pandemic.

Second-year Ashwin Nathan takes on the question of whether, in quality assessments for coronary artery disease treatment, hospitals should be judged by their percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedural mortality or their disease-based mortality for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). His cross-sectional study found only modest correlation between these two measures. The implication is that PCI procedural mortality in isolation may not accurately reflect a hospital’s quality of care for AMI. Read more in JAMA Cardiology .
Select Alumni Publications
Check out the latest from Lisa Rosenbaum '14 in the New England Journal of Medicine , in which she examines an untold toll of the pandemic. "How do we help people who are afraid to seek care to begin with? To date, much public health messaging regarding Covid has focused on social distancing, hand hygiene, PPE for health care workers, and the need for increased testing. Yet as we begin to observe fewer admissions for common emergencies such as heart attack and stroke, the need for vigilance about viral transmission need not detract from an equally important message: Covid or no Covid, we are still here to care for you."

Alumna Divyah Nagendra '19 had her MSHP/Family Planning Fellowship work published in JAMA Network Open this spring. Examining whether pretreatment with mifepristone is a cost-effective regimen for the medical management of early pregnancy loss, they conducted a planned economic evaluation including 300 women from a randomized clinical trial. They found pretreatment with mifepristone plus misoprostol had fewer treatment failures and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $4225.43 per quality-adjusted life year gained in the United States, compared with the standard regimen of misoprostol alone.

In a new study published in JAMA Oncology , Sam Takvorian '18 and colleagues shed important insight into the use of behavioral nudges to promote high-value, evidence-based prescribing among cancer clinicians. They examined the exemplar case of bone-modifying agent prescription for protection against skeletal-related events in patients with breast, lung and prostate cancer metastatic to bone – in which clinicians face a decision between two therapies of comparable effectiveness but dramatically different cost. Zoledronate and denosumab are guideline-endorsed, evidence-based bone-modifying agents that effectively reduce skeletal-related events in patients with bone metastases, but differ in annual cost dramatically ($215 for zoledronate versus $26,000 for denosumab). Read more at the link above.

We hope that you are doing well and staying safe. We hope to hope to write under a better set of circumstances in the fall.

Stay well,