April 26, 2024

Harsha Thirumurthy appointed as next Division Chief of Health Policy

The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy is thrilled to announce that Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD has been appointed as the next Chief of the Division of Health Policy, effective July 1, 2024. Dr. Thirumurthy is an esteemed health policy scholar and economist whose work focuses on reducing the burden of disease in low and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. He has done groundbreaking work on HIV prevention, including demonstrating the effectiveness of HIV self-test distribution by sexual contacts and of various financial incentives at reducing the incidence of HIV. In addition, he has shown that important policy initiatives, such as the President’s Malaria Initiative and poverty-alleviating financial incentives, are successful in achieving the ultimate public health goal – reducing mortality. His work has been impactful beyond the realm of scholarship – for example, based on his research the World Health Organization incorporated self-test distribution via sexual contacts into its 2019 HIV prevention recommendations.

After receiving his BA in Economics and Physics from Oberlin and his PhD in Economics from Yale, he briefly served as a postdoc at the Center for Global Development in DC. He then joined the faculty at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health, where he rose to Associate Professor with Tenure. We were fortunate to recruit him to Penn in 2017, where he has proved himself to be an eminent scholar, a valued colleague, and an outstanding leader.

The Department looks forward to continuing and expanding its tradition of excellence in health policy teaching and research under Dr. Thirumurthy’s leadership.

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