The 2017 50th Anniversary Dinner Celebration of the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) was held in the National Constitution Center (NCC)

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 5, 2017) — The 50th Anniversary Dinner Celebration of the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) was held in the National Constitution Center (NCC) in Independence National Historical Park (above). Opened in 2000, the facility is both an interactive museum and a national town hall for public policy discussions, including presidential debates. The NCC reception and dinner were part of LDI’s two-day 50th Anniversary Symposium that convened more than 460 top health care experts from academia, government and industry to discuss “Shaping the Future of Health Care.” The other symposium sessions took place in the Inn at Penn Conference Center.

The dinner and program honoring the career achievements and mentorship of Penn Wharton School professor and former LDI Executive Director Mark Pauly took place in the second-level “Hall of Flags” (above, left). The earlier LDI reception filled the lower level (above, right) and included the screening of a 30-minute video montage of Pauly’s former PhD students recounting their fond memories of his teaching and quirky humor.

The Symposium and NCC dinner celebration were the high point of a year-long celebration of LDI’s half century of history as a pioneering center of health services and policy research. LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky (above, left) spoke of the Institute’s past accomplishments as well as its role in the current and future research needs of a health care system undergoing traumatic change. The event had fifteen sponsors (above, right).

The dinner experience was made all the more interesting by access to the adjacent “Signers’ Hall” exhibit of the National Constitution Center (above, left). There, 42 life-sized bronze statues of Benjamin Franklin and the other 41 founding fathers are arranged as they would have been during the rousing debates that took place as the final version of the Constitution was being hammered out. Shaking Bronze Ben’s hand (above, right) is William Gerth of the pharmaceutical consultancy W.C. Gerth & Associates.

In opening the program honoring Mark Pauly, Wharton School Dean Geoffrey Garrett. (above, left) hailed him as “a living legend.” Pauly (above, right) began his career in the then-nearly-unknown field of health economics 50 years ago as a PhD student at the University of Virginia. He has been mentoring PhD students at Penn since 1983, many of whom have gone on to become some of the country’s most acclaimed health services research and policy experts.

As much a hilarious showman as he is an eminent academic at the podium (above, left), Pauly’s remarks evoked waves of laughter along with outbursts of thunderous applause. Rachel Werner, MD, PhD (above, right), one of his former PhD mentees who is now a Penn Medicine Professor of Medicine, Director of Health Policy and Outcomes Research, and Associate Chief of Research in the Division of General Internal Medicine, said her time as a Pauly mentee was a life-changing experience. He is “one of the most open hearted and generous people I have ever worked with,” she said, noting that she works hard to emulate Pauly’s methods with her own student mentees.

Kevin Volpp (above, left), now a Professor of both Medicine at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and Health Care Management at the Wharton School, and renowned as one of the country’s leading experts on behavioral economics, was another former Pauly mentee to thank the professor for his life-changing influence. Above, right, Werner, Volpp and former mentee Stacey McMorrow now of the Urban Institute, present Pauly with a tree graphic of his academic descendants showing the many mentees who have risen to high levels of academic and policy achievement.

Among those attending the event were 43 of Pauly’s former and current PhD mentees (above, left) who gathered for a photo op on the National Constitution Center’s main floor. Click image to see names of all mentees.

Above, left, enjoying their salads are (l to r) Joanne Levy, LDI Deputy Director and Associate Director of the Wharton Health Care Management PhD Program; Rachel Werner and Stacey McMorrow. Above, right, Levy presents the current and four former LDI Executive Directors with framed photos of the LDI anniversary message that ran on the PECO building’s Crown Lights banner. (l to r, top) J. Sanford Schwartz, MD, Penn Medicine Professor; Joanne LevyWilliam Pierskalla, PhD, MBA, Professor Emeritus, UCLA Anderson School of Management; David Asch, MD, MBA, Penn Medicine Professor and Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. (bottom) Mark Pauly, PhD, Wharton Professor of Health Care Management; and Daniel Polsky, PhD, Wharton Professor and current LDI chief.

Above, left, former LDI Executive Director [1978-1983] William Pierskalla discusses the good old days at Wharton with Wharton Professor Emeritus Arnold (Skip) Rosoff, JD, who has been a major figure in the school since 1970. Next to Rosoff is another Wharton luminary, Patricia Danzon, PhD, a Professor of both Health Care Management and Insurance and Risk Management. Above, right, Rachel WernerDaniel Polsky and Judith Long, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Penn Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine.

Above, left is Wharton alum and Chairman of the LDI Executive Advisory Board Curtis Lane, MBA, Founding Partner of the health care-focused financial services firm MTS Health Partners and Anil Joseph, Managing Director of Capital One. Above, right, Penn Medicine alum Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, MSHP, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health; Penn alum Brendan Carr, MD, Associate Dean for Healthcare Delivery Innovation at Thomas Jefferson University; Sophia Jan, MD, MSHP, Chief of General Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York; and Matthew Press, MD, MSc, Associate Medical Director of the Penn Medicine Primary Care Service Line.

Above, left, David Grande, MD, MPA, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and LDI Director of Research; Sindhu Srinivas, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Perelman; Allyson Schwartz, former Congresswoman from Pennsylvania’s 13th District; and Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Above, right, Carolyn AsburyKatrina Armstong, MD, former Chief of Penn Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine and current Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Arthur Asbury, MD, Penn Medicine Emeritus Professor of Neurology.

With the gobo of LDI’s 50th Anniversary logo projected on the wall behind them are Rebecka Rosenquist, MSc, LDI Assistant Director of Health Policy and Communications; Molly Candon, PhD, LDI Postdoctoral Fellow; and Cassie Solomon, MBA, Wharton alum and President of The New Group Consulting. Above, right, Jeff Voigt, MBA, Past President of the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association (WHCMAA) and President of Medical Device Consultants; Samuel Nussbaum, MD, Strategic Consultant at EBG Advisors; and Robert McDonald, MD, Secretary of WHCMAA and President of Aledo Consulting.

Above, left are three of Mark Pauly’s current PhD mentees: Amelia Bond, MHS; Emma Dean; and Ambar LaForgia, all of the Wharton Health Care Management Department. Above, right, Independence Hall is just a stone’s throw from the front door of the National Constitution Center and one of the illuminated backdrops of the night’s activities.