Inaugural LDI Undergraduate Research Prize Winner Announced
Theodore Caputi, a University of Pennsylvania junior studying economics at The Wharton School and Mathematics at the College of Arts & Science has won the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) inaugural Undergraduate Health Services Research Prize.
The award, to be be given annually, recognizes a student who has demonstrated a high level of interest and initiative in the area of health research services and health policy analysis.
In creating the award, LDI collaborates with two other research-oriented Penn Centers -- the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center and Mack Institution for Innovation Management -- that have also worked with the Wharton Undergraduate Division to establish similar prizes to foster the development of student researchers.
The LDI prize includes the opportunity to be mentored by an LDI Senior Fellow, invitations to conferences that bring together top academic scholars, invitations to LDI's research and policy seminars with a chance to meet the speakers, and the potential to otherwise network throughout the year with some of the field's leading experts.
"Working with LDI will afford me the unique opportunity to observe how researchers approach some of society's most complex health care problems through collaboration with scholars from many different disciplines," said Caputi. "I hope to apply this multidisciplinary approach to my own research in substance abuse prevention."
Caputi, who regularly writes for both the Huffington Post Blog and the Daily Pennsylvanian, became a research assistant at Philadelphia's Treatment Research Institute (TRI) when he was in the 10th grade in Council Rock High School North in Newtown, Pa. He is still connected to TRI and last year became a Junior Policy Fellow at the University of Florida Drug Policy Institute in keeping with his interest in studies focused on substance abuse treatment and policy.
A native of Washington Crossing in Bucks County, Caputi won a 2014 Wharton Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) grant, an annual program that selects 10 students for a summer-long research immersion experience mentored by top Wharton faculty members. During his first two years at Penn he has worked as a research assistant to former Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson, PhD in the Wharton Marketing Department; LDI Senior Fellow Katherine Milkman in the Wharton School of Operations Information Management Department; Erik Gilje, PhD, Assistant Professor of Finance in the Wharton School of Finance; J. Sanford Schwartz, MD, Professor of Medicine at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine; and Thomas McLellan, PhD, Chairman of the Board of the Treatment Research Institute.
Caputi is also an intern in the office of U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) and the president and founder of the Penn Leadership Training Institute, a non-profit organization of Penn undergrads providing free leadership training to middle and high school students in West Philadelphia.