University of Pennsylvania Provost Wendell Pritchett and Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson are pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Werner as Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI).

“Rachel Werner is the ideal leader to chart the future of the LDI,” said Provost Pritchett. “She is one of the world’s foremost scholars working at the intersection of health and economics, and her research is making a vital impact on health policy and patient care across the world. A longtime member of our Penn community, she understands that the most vital solutions in our contemporary world must be innovative and multi-disciplinary.”

Rachel Werner, MD, PhD
Rachel Werner, MD, PhD

Pioneering research

“Dr. Werner brings a unique combination of experience as a clinician as well as a highly accomplished economist and health care policy researcher to this important role leading LDI,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD. “Her pioneering research has helped shape health care policy in the United States and across the globe and sets an example for the type of creative inquiry and scholarship needed to solve the most pressing issues in health care.” 

Rachel Werner is currently Professor of Medicine, Director of Health Policy and Outcomes Research in the Department of Medicine, Associate Chief of Research in the Division of General Internal Medicine, and Co-Director of the MS in Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, with a secondary appointment as Professor of Health Care Management in the Wharton School. A global expert on health care policies and their impact on the quality and equity of health care, she holds both an MD from the Perelman School of Medicine, where she also did her residency in Internal Medicine, and a PhD in Health Economics from the Wharton School. 

Health services research

Prof. Werner’s research examines the effects of health care policies on health care organization and delivery, focusing on the role of financial incentives, especially in changing provider behavior, improving racial disparities, and triggering potential unintended consequences. For example, her research was among the first to demonstrate that public reporting of quality information may in fact worsen racial disparities. This work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Administration, among others, and published in such leading journals as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Services Research, and Health Affairs. Prof. Werner has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Medical Research, and the Alice Hersh New Investigator Award from AcademyHealth. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

“With her scholarship at the intersection of medicine and policy and her demonstrated leadership,” said Vice Provost for Research Dawn Bonnell, “Rachel Werner is poised to expand the impact of LDI in the Penn community and the evolving landscape of health care economics.”

The Penn LDI, established in 1967 with a gift from Leonard and Sophie Davis, serves as the University’s primary locus for research, policy analysis, and education in health systems. More than 300 LDI Senior Fellows work to improve the health of the public through studies on the medical, economic, and social issues that influence how health care is organized, financed, managed, and delivered, guiding health policies at all levels of government and the private sector.