LDI at AcademyHealth: A Celebration of Current Science and Past History

LDI at AcademyHealth: A Celebration of Current Science and Past History

Penn Health Economics Institute Marks Its 50th Anniversary at Annual Research Meeting
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Photos: Hoag Levins
In an effort combining the latest research of its Senior Fellows with a look back at its own history, the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) made its participation in the 2017 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting an extension of its year-long 50th Anniversary celebration. More than 2,500 health services research professionals attended the three-day event held at the Hyatt Regency Conference Center in downtown New Orleans with plenary sessions in the main ballroom (above). The connections between LDI and AcademyHealth -- an organization it helped to create 36 years ago -- are stronger than ever in a year that has confronted health care research and policy professionals with major new challenges.
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In a pre-ARM meeting on the Penn campus in early June, AcademyHealth President and CEO Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP and LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky, PhD, (above, left), discussed the potential funding challenges faced by AcademyHealth and other scientific organizations involved in health services and policy research.
(Above, right) In New Orleans, LDI unveiled a completely redesigned and expanded booth presence in the ARM expo hall that highlighted its 50th Anniversary and decades of pioneering work by its Senior Fellows.
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Members of the team manning the LDI booth (above, left) included Executive Assistant to the LDI Executive Director Emily Shields and Penn Wharton School Health Care Management PhD student Molly Frean. Among the tchotchkes offered at the booth were three-pointed highlighters imprinted with the famed "iron triangle" of health care variables made famous in the landmark 1994 book of the late LDI Senior Fellow and Wharton Professor William Kissick, MD, PhD. The rear wall of the booth was covered with an eight-foot wide graphic timeline of LDI's history. (Above, right) Many Penn faculty and alums attending the conference amended the timeline with their own sticky note annotations about iconic people and events from five decades of LDI history.
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Adding gastronomic flair to the LDI booth on the second day of the conference (above, left) was a fresh beignet station offering the deep fried, wonderfully flaky and heavily sugared Creole pastry for which New Orleans is famed. LDI Special Events Manager Kim Hall Jackson hands a serving of the warm treats to ARM attendee Deborah Whitney, Executive Director of Harvard's Interfaculty Initiative in Health Policy. Standing ready on the right is LDI Research Coordinator Safa Browne.
(Above, right) included in the LDI contingent of faculty, staff and students attending the conference were 20 students from LDI's Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) program. Established 18 years ago by LDI Deputy Director Joanne Levy, MBA, MCP (center, tan jacket), the SUMR program immerses undergrads with a health care-related interest in a 13-week course of hands-on health services research and related studies mentored by Penn faculty members.
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Numerous Penn faculty members were among the presenters and panelists at the conference. (Above, left) David Grande, MD, LDI Director of Policy and Perelman School of Medicine Assistant Professor, presents the findings of a study that analyzed the effectiveness of using Commuity Health Workers to improve care management and outcomes among disadvantaged patients with multiple chronic diseases.
(Above, right) In the poster hall, Penn med student Rachel Graves discusses a study of the availability of the opioid-overdose-reversing drug Naloxone in pharmacies across the state of Pennsylvania. The work was affiliated with Penn's Department of Emergency Medicine and the CHERISH Center (Center for Health Economics Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV and HIV). Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CHERISH is a research collaboration of LDI, the Weill Cornell Medical College, the Boston Medical Center and the University of Miami. (See report on other LDI-related research posters at the conference).
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Speaking in a session focused on technologies that can enhance a patient's engagement with health care treatments was Shivan Mehta, MD, MBA (above, left), LDI Senior Fellow and Director of Operations at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. Mehta, who is also an Assistant Professor at the Perelman School, spoke of studies focused on wireless pill bottle devices that can transmit patient pill-taking data back to clinicians and other caregivers.
(Above, right) At an evening reception, Sindhu Srinivas and Pooja Mehta celebrate their latest achievements. Srinivas, MD, MSCE, LDI Senior Fellow and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School, was a member of the research team whose paper was named an AHRQ Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project (HCUP) Outstanding Article of the Year award winner. Mehta, MD, is a former LDI Fellow and Penn Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar whose appointment as the Louisiana Health Department's new Director of Maternal and Women's Health Policy was announced at the AcademyHealth meeting by the office of the Louisiana Secretary of Health.
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Shifting gears from serious science to jazzy relaxation, LDI's Sunday AcademyHealth party filled the nearby Little Gem Saloon for an evening of southern Louisiana eating and professional comradery. Founded in 1904, the historic club is one of the touchstones of local music history.
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LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky (above, left) welcomes the crowd, briefly detailed the upcoming LDI 50th Anniversary Symposium in Philadelphia in October and urged the crowd onto the food tables where delicacies including fried catfish sandwiches and deep fried bread pudding topped with whiskey sauce awaited. The "RAMP ROOM" on the stage banner behind him refers to the famed turn-0f-the-20th-century "RAMP District" of early jazz clubs. The Little Gem is the last of those historic structures still located on Ramp Street.
(Above, right) Penn alum Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, who was appointed Louisiana Secretary of Health 18 months ago, oversaw the expansion of the Medicaid program throughout the state. She welcomed the gathered scientists to New Orleans and briefly discussed the Medicaid-related challenges currently facing her state and the nation's health care system. Gee, who lives in New Orleans and remains a practicing gynecologist, was a Penn Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Master of Science in Health Policy Research Clinical Scholar.
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Demonstrating the official Mardi Gras gear provided for party attendees (above, left) were (l to r) LDI staffers Kim Hall Jackson and Emily Shields, LDI Deputy Director Joanne Levy, and LDI Research Coordinator Safa Brown.
(Above, right) The event's trumpeteer was Mario Abney, a Chicago native who earned a bachelor's degree in Music Educational Studies from Ohio's Central State University before moving to New Orleans where he has been playing since 2008.
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Bringing people together from across the country, the party, like the conference, facilitated enthusiastic information exchanges. (Above, left) are (l to r) health economist Lindsay Allen, PhD, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University School of Public Health; Len Nichols, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) at George Mason University; and health economist Kosali Simon, PhD, a Professor at Indiana University Bloomington.
(Above, right) is famed Incidental Economist blogger Austin Frakt, PhD, an LDI Adjunct Senior Fellow and Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Boston University School of Public Health.
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The LDI "Selfie Sign" was a hit at the party as demonstrated (above, left), by Wharton School Health Care Management PhD students Emma Boswell Dean and Allison Briggs.
(Above, right) Jeffrey Silber, MD, PhD, Professor of both Pediatrics at the Perelman School and Health Care Management at the Wharton School; LDI Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Outcomes Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
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(Above, left) LDI Senior Fellow Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and her husband RalphSchapira, MD, Chief of Staff at the New Orleans VA Medical Center.
(Above, right) (l to r): Kristin Kan, MD, MPH, MSc, Pediatrician and Health Policy Researcher at the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago; Charlene Wong, MD, former LDI Fellow, Penn Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine; and Krisda Chaiyachati, MD, MPH, LDI Fellow and Penn Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the Perelman School.
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(Above, left) (r to l) Olga Yakusheva, PhD, (white blouse) Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing; her husband Edward Naines, and her doctoral student, Megan Czerwinski.
(Above, right) Penn alum and LDI Adjunct Senior Fellow Karin Rhodes, MD, Vice President for Care Management, Design and Evaluation at Northwell Health and Professor of Emergency Medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.