Photo Feature: The Latest in Behavioral Economics and Dinner With a Sphinx
Annual Research Symposium Scientists Enjoy an Evening in Penn's Egyptian Galleries
Photos: Hoag Levins
The most unusual and visually interesting part of this year’s annual University of Pennsylvania Behavioral Economics and Health Symposium was its reception and dinner in the Egyptian galleries (above) of the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. It was, for everyone in the smiling crowd, the first time they had dined in the presence of a sphinx. Now in its eighth year, the two-day symposium was co-hosted by Penn’s Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) and the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Roybal Center for Behavioral Change in Health and Savings.
Attendees enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the midst of massive ancient structural artifacts (above, left) from the time of Pharaoh Ramesses the Great more than 3,300 years ago. Relaxing among the heavily hieroglyphiced temple columns (above, right) are (l to r) Peter Ubel, MD, Professor of Business Administration at the Duke University School of Medicine; Andrea Troxel, ScD, Professor of Population Health and Director of the Division of Biostatistics at New York University School of Medicine; and David Asch, MD, MBA, Professor of Medicine, Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI).
Keynoting the symposium was MIT Professor of Economics Amy Finkelstein, PhD (above), who was one of the two Principal Investigators on the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. She discussed the details of that randomized evaluation of extending Medicaid coverage to previously uninsured low-income adults for two years. She is also the Co-Scientific Director of J-PAL North America, a research center focused on randomized evaluation studies related to domestic policy issues.
Professor Finkelstein, discussed the details of the Oregon Medicaid study findings that have been the subject of widespread controversy since their publication in 2013. She characterized the subsequent media coverage and ongoing debate as often “raging and extreme.” But she also pointed out, “it speaks to the power and credibility of randomized evaluation and rigorous empirical evidence to reach a broader audience.” Above, right. John Haaga, Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute of Aging, emphasized to researchers that the NIH was “particularly interested in social determinants of health and in understanding better and doing something about the growing socioeconomic disparities in health at older ages.”
Assistant Perelman School of Medicine Professor, LDI Senior Fellow and ER physician in the trauma center of Penn’s Presbyterian Medical Center Kit Delgado, MD, MS (above, left), told the audience that his research work is heavily informed by his daily experience. “In the last year,” he said, “I can’t remember a shift where I have not treated a heroin overdose or managed symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It’s really pretty remarkable.” His latest study focuses on the number of opioid tablets that ER physicians typically prescribe. He said one finding is that above the threshold of 30 tablets, the number of patients who go on to seek more tablets from multiple doctors “just doubles and triples.” Above, right, in lively conversation during a break are John Beshears, PhD, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, and a Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research; Katherine Milkman, PhD, Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at the Wharton School, Co-director of the new Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the School of Arts & Sciences, and LDI Senior Fellow; and Roy Rosin, MBA, Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation Chief Innovation Officer, and LDI Senior Fellow.
At lunch eight floors above the Penn campus (above, left) are Lori Melichar, PhD, Director of the Pioneer Portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; John Haaga of the National Institute of Aging; and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, Director of CHIBE, Professor of Medicine and Vice Chairman for Health Policy at the Penn Department of Medical Ethics and Policy, and LDI Senior Fellow. Above, right is American Public Media’s Marketplace radio show health reporter Dan Gorenstein in animated conversations with Executive Director of Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation David Asch and George Lowenstein, PhD, Co-Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Behavioral and Decision Research.
Above, left, are NIA Research Program Analyst Prisca Fall, MA; Stephen Glauser, Program Associate at the Russell Sage Foundation; and Shivan Metha, MD, MBA, Director of Operations at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School, and LDI Senior Fellow. Above, right, Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practice at Dartmouth College, chats with David Mandell, ScD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Perelman School, Director of Penn’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, and LDI Senior Fellow.
Discussing a presentation are former CHIBE Research Fellow and current Assistant Professor at the University of Utah School of Business, Eric VanEpps, PhD; Maurice Schweitzer, PhD, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisons in the Wharton School; and George Lowenstein, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University. Above, right, having a good laugh during the break are Sarah Huf, MBBS, Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation and an LDI Associate Fellow; and LDI Senior Fellow Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, Associate Professor of Family and Community Health at the Penn School of Nursing and Health Policy at the Perelman School.
Above, left, Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, PhD, Associate Professor of Medical Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine makes a point with Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School, Deputy Director of CHIBE, and LDI Senior Fellow. Above, right, chatting over an afternoon snack are Joelle Friedman, MPA, CHIBE Managing Director, and Tom Baker, JD, Professor of Law at Penn Law, LDI Senior Fellow and Director of the LDI Health Insurance Exchanges Research Group.