Penn Health Research Partners
Over two dozen Penn centers and departments focus on issues related to Penn LDI’s focus areas.
Annenberg School for Communication/Perelman School of Medicine
Messaging often influences our decisions, emotions, and motivation, especially when it comes to health. Located in the Annenberg School for Communication and supported by the Perelman School of Medicine, the Message Effects Lab (MEL)’s goal is to find out which health messages have the right effect. MEL helps organizations by tailoring intervention approaches to specific research needs, leveraging validated methods and theory, and by applying advances in psychology and message effects. Recently, MEL worked with Penn Medicine to identify messaging that reduces COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. MEL has also created text message content that increased appointments for flu vaccinations.
Funded by the FDA through NCI, Penn’s Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (TCORS) research focuses on describing, understanding the effects of, and correcting misinformation about existing and emerging tobacco and nicotine products in a complex communication environment, with the goal of reducing tobacco use. It engages faculty, researchers and students from PSOM and the Annenberg School for Communication and elsewhere. In addition to funding major research projects, the Penn TCORS provides doctoral and post-doctoral training and offers pilot project funding.
Perelman School of Medicine
The purpose of Cardiovascular Outcomes, Quality, and Evaluative Research (CAVOQER) is to determine what tests, treatments, technologies, structures, processes, organizations, incentives, and systems provide the best patient outcomes and optimal economic value in the “real world” of cardiovascular health care. The CAVOQER Center will focus on growing Penn’s research capacity and applied science in this vital area, with the ultimate goals of improving the health of cardiovascular patients at Penn Medicine as well as disseminating knowledge of best practices in cardiovascular medicine throughout the world.
The core mission of the Center for Healthcare Improvement & Patient Safety (CHIPS) is to improve healthcare quality using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates health services research training and quality improvement training. CHIPS sponsors a two-year Fellowship program for junior faculty and physicians completing residency, sponsors a summer internship for MS1 students, hosts a monthly research-in-progress seminar, and collaborates on research and training with many other Penn centers and educational programs.
The Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), the largest research center of its kind in the US, provides an academic home for basic and applied research in behavioral economics. CHIBE applies behavioral economic principles to a broad array of health-related contexts, including health benefits design, patients’ and physicians’ decisions to use medical technologies and medications, the prevention and management of chronic illnesses, and end-of-life care choices. CHIBE regularly partners with a mix of private and public sector entities to influence improvements in health policy and the delivery of health care.
The mission of the Center for Surgery and Health Economics is to support innovations in education, therapeutics, and organizational design through a tripartite approach using health services research, clinical trialsm, and implementation science designed to improve surgical care.
The Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at Penn stands as one of the premier institutions of research and education in medical ethics and health policy in the world. The Department’s distinguished faculty produce and disseminate scholarship and lead three bioethics master’s degree programs. In addition to their own projects, faculty members supervise research by undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. The Department’s presence in the world of biomedical ethics education is ever-growing. In 2017, the department launched the Master of Health Care Innovation, an online master’s program aiming to training future leaders in health policy, administration, and ethics.
Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) faculty have training and research expertise in clinical epidemiology, decision sciences, health services research, biostatistics, evaluation and measurement science and the conduct of multi-center clinical trials. It houses the Health Services Research Unit, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, economists, and statisticians. The Division, along with the Department of Pediatrics, codirects a HRSA funded Primary Care Physician-Scientist Fellowship Program. This two-year postdoctoral fellowship produces academic generalist physicians trained in health policy research, clinical epidemiology or evaluation sciences. Over the past 25 years, the DGIM has provided postdoctoral training to more than 100 physicians, most of whom pursue academic careers.
The Opportunity for Health Lab is dedicated to understanding how the American Dream affects America’s health, and identifying ways to help bolster both economic opportunity and health. Its research uses advanced statistical techniques and new data on economic opportunity—and the events and policies that shape it—to achieve these goals. The Lab aims to work closely with partners in academia, government, and industry to leverage its findings to improve the health of all Americans.
The Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I) conducts research to transform cancer care. Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the Perelman School of Medicine, PC3I is embedded at the nexus of research and practice. PC3I’s mission is to create, test, and scale solutions to improve care for patients with cancer. PC3I brings together diverse stakeholders—patients, providers, health systems, and other partners—to develop innovations that improve health and health care for patients with cancer, enhance patient and clinician experience, and increase efficiency.
Penn Center for Mental Health (CMH) consists of a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff who study the organization, financing and delivery of mental health care. The center also provides consultation and technical support to government agencies and providers that formulate relevant policy or deliver care. CMH links research and evaluation findings to inform policy decisions, and to improve the implementation of evidence-based care for individuals with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.
The Penn Injury Science Center brings together university, community, and government partners around injury and violence intervention programs with the highest potential for impact. It promotes and performs the highest quality research, training, and translation of scientific discoveries into practice and policy in order to reduce injuries, violence, and their impact in this region, in the US, and around the world.
The Penn Prevention Research Center (PRC), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is conducting innovative public health and disease management research aimed at preventing chronic disease and reducing health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The specific goals of the UPenn PRC are to (1) use the tools of behavioral economics combined with environmental/structural strategies to prevent chronic disease and reduce health disparities; (2) focus on the widespread health concerns of obesity prevention and reducing cardiovascular disease risk; (3) conduct research to understand how behavioral economics & public health strategies can reduce health risks and improve health; (4) become a hub of interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination; and (5) strengthen public and private sector community partnerships. The PRC also provides opportunities to apply for supplemental funding on targeted health topics.
Created in 2012, the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation facilitates the rapid, disciplined development, testing and implementation of new strategies to reimagine health care delivery for dramatically better value and patient outcomes. With high level competencies in medicine, behavioral economics, health policy and user-centered design, the Center’s multidisciplinary team works to: make people healthier by improving patient quality of life and outcomes by reducing health burdens; reduce the cost of health care while maintaining and improving outcomes; bring care into people’s lives by identifying areas in which connected health can improve patient outcomes and lower cost; enable and accelerate innovation at Penn Medicine by energizing faculty and staff to develop new skills and test different approaches to improve care delivery; and encourage and catalyze other health systems to adopt innovative methods by sharing success stories.
Launched in 2013 by Dr. Raina Merchant, the Penn Social Media and Health Innovation Lab is part of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, in partnership with Penn LDI and the Department of Emergency Medicine. The Social Media and Health Innovation Lab conducts and disseminates multidisciplinary research at the intersection of social media, mobile technology, and health–exploring how new communication channels can enhance our ability to understand and improve individual and population health behaviors and outcomes. The Center for Digital Health is a new evolution from Penn Medicine’s Social Media Laboratory. This center will have an early focus on leveraging social media to improve health. New areas of research for the Center for Digital Health include identification of factors linked to depression and obesity, and studying social media to trace language changes that may be associated with Alzheimer’s or other types of cognitive decline.
The Urban Health Lab (UHL) at the Perelman School of Medicine is dedicated to designing and testing individual and community level interventions to build healthy neighborhoods. UHL partners with community organizations, non-profits, and policymakers to create the highest levels of evidence to advance the science of urban health and wellbeing. The Lab has a particular focus on urban nature and leveraging green space for health. The Lab designs and tests neighborhood environmental interventions, including quality green space, blight remediation, structural housing fixes, and more, as well as run observational studies. UHL’s goal is to advance knowledge on the best practices to building healthy neighborhoods.
The Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR) was established in 1989 under the leadership of current Director, Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN. The Center operates as a unique community within the School of Nursing, drawing together faculty, students, and pre- and postdoctoral fellows from nursing, sociology, demography, medicine, management, economics, and other related disciplines. The Center is a research and research training enterprise focused on the outcomes of health care and health workforce policy. The CHOPR-based study team has access to exceptional resources throughout the school and university. With collaborators from around the world, Center researchers study health system reorganization and policy changes and aim to produce research evidence to improve the quality of health care.
The mission of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health is to influence—via rigorous evidence, practices and policies designed to enhance transitions in health and health care, improve health and quality of life outcomes and promote wiser use of resources for the growing population of chronically ill adults in the U.S. and globally. The NewCourtland Center generates, disseminates and translates multidisciplinary research related to nursing’s influence on major health transitions for this vulnerable population and their family caregivers. Simultaneously, the Center prepares the next generation of scholars from nursing and other disciplines to pursue this significant agenda, providing leadership in advancing knowledge essential to solve society’s most complex health and social issues.
The Wharton School
The Boettner Center supports scholarly research, teaching and outreach on global aging, successful retirement, and public and private pensions. The Center also disseminates research findings to international audiences of academics and policymakers as well as supports data development efforts at the University of Pennsylvania.
This department seeks strategic partnerships with health care companies and offers corporate members access to applied research, customized executive education programs, and assistance with recruiting within the Wharton Health Care MBA program.
The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI), with offices both at Penn and in Washington, DC, seeks to inform national policy discussions by delivering timely, nonpartisan, data-driven faculty research to government decision-makers, particularly on issues that differentially affect business and the economy—including matters of health policy. Although anchored in Wharton, the Initiative currently brings together over 85 Faculty Affiliates from across Penn, and serves the University as a hub for public policy scholarship and education by spurring the development of new public policy courses, academic programs, lecture events, research opportunities, and internships for undergraduate and graduate students.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) advances the safety and health of children, adolescents, and young adults through comprehensive research resulting in practical tools to reduce injury and promote recovery. To turn “research into action,” CIRP focuses on several research priorities, including: Child Road Traffic Safety, Young Driver Safety, Pediatric Biomechanics, Post-injury Care and Recovery and our two newest thrusts: the Violence Prevention Initiative and the Digital Health Initiative. It also hosts the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) www.chop.edu/cchips, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.
PEDSnet is one of the 11 Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) funded by the Patient- Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to form an ambitious new national resource known as PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. The vision is to support a learning US healthcare system, by creating a large, highly representative, national patient-centered clinical research network for conducting clinical outcomes research with enhanced accuracy and efficiency.
The Center for Outcomes Research (COR) aims to help policymakers, providers, patients, and other health care decision makers address issues of poor quality health care, low value health care, and disparities in health care access and quality for children and adults through innovative outcome and process measure development. An academic research center, COR collaborates with numerous academic centers across the country, as well as with health systems, insurers, federal and state entities and private foundations to apply rigorous scientific methods and cutting-edge statistical techniques to real-world quality and efficiency problems in a changing health care landscape.
The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness’s (CPCE) mission is to discover and spread knowledge about best practices in pediatric disease by facilitating, organizing and centralizing the performance of clinical effectiveness research, the mentoring of fellows and faculty in clinical effectiveness research, and the dissemination and implementation of research findings. CPCE partners with other groups at CHOP to implement best practices to improve the quality of care delivered to children in the Children’s Hospital healthcare network.
The mission of PolicyLab is to achieve optimal child health and well-being by informing program and policy changes through interdisciplinary research. PolicyLab develops and implements evidence-based solutions that are responsive to community needs and relevant to policy priorities. The interdisciplinary team at PolicyLab consists of 15 faculty and over 30 staff who are experts in medicine, law, public health, health policy, psychology, biostatistics, social work, health services research, program evaluation, and ethics. PolicyLab’s work focuses on improving public systems, improving health care delivery, and improving child health outcomes.
Since 2001, the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), a national VA Center of Innovation, has promoted quality and equity in health and health care for veterans and other vulnerable populations. It is a cross-state collaboration between the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, the University of Pittsburgh, the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, and Penn. CHERP research contributions include interventions in disparities in joint replacement, diabetes, hypertension control, and mental illness. CHERP investigators also lead national initiatives to improve palliative care in all VA facilities, and to evaluate and improve the VA’s Patient Aligned Care Team model.