APRIL 2019
The Healthy Nudge
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 .
Self-Control: More Than Willpower
A recent article from CHIBE affiliated faculty members Angela Duckworth, PhD, MA, MSc, Katy Milkman, PhD, and Harvard colleague David Laibson, PhD, provides a synthesis of contemporary research on failures of self-control. The authors distinguish between self-initiated and externally driven efforts to increase self-control, drawing connections to the obesity epidemic in the United States. They conclude that "optimal strategies depend not only on their likelihood of success but also on their ease of execution."
Putting Negative Studies into Context
In a new JAMA Viewpoint, CHIBE affiliated faculty members Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, David Asch, MD, MBA, and Director Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, put recent studies employing financial incentives into context by discussing the "seemingly subtle design factors" that influence outcomes. In any study, they say, the nature of the behavior, the size of the incentive, the population involved, the design, and the social context all play a role in influencing whether or not financial incentives will be effective at achieving a desired health behavior. These factors are especially important to keep in mind when interpreting the results of negative studies.
Behavioral Techniques Increase Survey Participation
CHIBE affiliated faculty members Judy Shea, PhD and David Asch, MD, MBA partnered with Penn Medicine colleagues to explore techniques from behavioral science that may influence survey participation. In a longitudinal survey among internal medicine residents, they found regret messages were as influential as receiving prizes for increasing survey participation. Additionally, survey responses expected on weekends had fewer responses. Low participation rates limit the generalizability of survey findings, increasing the importance of these insights for future studies.
Blog Spotlight
E-cigarettes, JUUL and Vaping: What Pediatric Health Care Providers Need to Know
In a post on CHOP PolicyLab's blog, CHIBE Affiliated Faculty member Brian Jenssen, MD, MSHP discusses the role pediatricians can play in protecting youth from the dangers of e-cigarettes. Dr. Jenssen is part of a team of investigators running a clinical trial that explores the use of a "a combination of routine screening, health information technology and financial incentives to help teenagers connect to evidence-based behavioral counseling through [Pennsylvania's] Quitline."
Online Master of Health Care Innovation Final Application Deadline:
The Fall 2019 final application deadline for the Online Master of Health Care Innovation degree program is quickly approaching. The program, housed in CHIBE's academic department, aims to develop current and future leaders in health care innovation through top-tier, engaging education delivered by faculty experts from across the University of Pennsylvania, including CHIBE leadership.
In The News
Apple Watch App Could Detect Life-Threatening Irregular Heartbeat, Study Says

Doctor On Video Screen Told A Man He Was Near Death, Leaving Relatives Aghast 

Thanking and Apologizing: Talk That Isn't Cheap

Apple Watch App Could Detect Life-Threatening Irregular Heartbeat, Study Says

Why Congress Might Relax Physician Anti-Kickback Rules

Mailing Colorectal Cancer Screening Kits Found Effective, Regardless of Financial Incentive

How Healthcare IT Can Help Consumers with Health Choices

The Psychology of Workplace Architecture

Is Coffee the Key to Curbing Medical Equipment Waste? 
 CHIBE Profile
Laura Gibson, PhD is Assistant Director of the PEACH Lab. Her research interests focus on how to make effective public health interventions with the capacity to improve the health of large numbers of people. She has primarily been involved in the development and evaluation of anti-tobacco mass media campaigns.
How has behavioral science informed your research on anti-tobacco mass media campaigns?
My anti-tobacco research relied heavily on large-scale surveys to predict effective messages and experiments to look at potential message effects by sub-populations or other factors. When choosing effective messages for anti-smoking media campaigns (both for the Philadelphia “Quit with Help” campaign and the FDA’s national “The Real Cost” campaign), I used cross-sectional surveys measuring beliefs, intentions, and behaviors related to tobacco use to determine which beliefs were most strongly associated with the desired outcomes and not already held by a lot of people. This data helped us choose themes for campaign-developers that we expected to be most effective in the field.

How does your background at the Annenberg School for Communication inform your work with the PEACH Lab and at the School of Medicine generally?
Working with two leaders in the field of Health Communication (Bob Hornik and Joe Cappella) really honed my ability to see the necessary trade-offs in various research designs. Being critically aware of those trade-offs has really informed the conclusions I draw from data. My experience studying warning labels and effective public service announcements (PSAs) for reducing tobacco use is directly related to the work being done in the PEACH Lab (e.g., sugar sweetened beverage and grocery warning labels). So many of the issues that come up for researchers thinking about how to change tobacco use -- especially vaping/e-cigarette -- are similar to the issues that come up when trying to change eating behavior.

Which new PEACH Lab projects are you most excited to be working on? Compared with your previous work, are you looking to address different health behaviors?
I am very excited to be working on the PEACH lab field experiments where we analyze data pulled directly from participants’ natural behaviors (e.g., sales data from vending machines and products chosen at a food pantry). Field experiments like these can give us a better understanding of whether or not small changes in labeling or choice architecture actually translate to meaningful effects in the world. Although my focus in the PEACH lab has mostly shifted to topics related to nutrition, I look forward to continuing my work in tobacco and other areas of public health where changes in messaging have the capacity to improve the health of large numbers of people.
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 healthcare delivery and increase healthy behavior.
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