Harsha Thirumurthy is Associate Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine. He is also Associate Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) at Penn. He earned his PhD in economics from Yale University.
Dr. Thirumurthy’s interests lie at the intersection of economics and public health. His research seeks to design and rigorously evaluate interventions that can achieve changes in health behaviors in low-income settings, typically using insights from psychology and economics as well as novel technologies. His work has focused on medication adherence, HIV testing, male circumcision for HIV prevention, and behaviors related to maternal and child health. He has led several randomized trials of incentive-based approaches to health promotion as well as mobile health (mHealth) interventions. He has also evaluated large-scale health initiatives such as the scale-up of HIV treatment and assessed trends in population health. Thirumurthy has published peer-reviewed articles in a number of leading journals in economics, public health, and medicine, including JAMA, The Lancet HIV, PLOS Medicine, the Journal of Public Economics, and the American Economic Journal-Applied Economics. Currently he is PI of two NIH R01 projects, one on the use of HIV self-testing to improve decision making and prevent HIV infections, and another on the use of various economic incentive interventions to promote HIV testing and engagement in care in Uganda. He is also leading projects on mental health outcomes in South Africa and on social accountability interventions to improve child health outcomes in India.
In a recent interview, Dr. Thirumurthy discussed his ongoing work that leverages behavioral insights to increase HIV testing and treatment.