Scott D. Halpern

Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE @ScottHalpernMD
  • Titles:
  • John M. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy
  • Founding Director, Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center (PAIR)
  • CHIBE Internal Advisory Board Member
  • Education:
  • University of Pennsylvania, MD
  • University of Pennsylvania, PhD, Epidemiology
  • University of Pennsylvania, MBE
  • Duke University, BS, Psychology and Economics

Dr. Halpern’s research combines empirical approaches from the fields of epidemiology, health services research, and the decision-making sciences with conceptual work grounded in moral philosophy. He applies these approaches across three fields.

First, he examines the allocation of scarce healthcare resources including ICU beds and services and solid-organ transplants. In this regard, he seeks to understand how tradeoffs are made when the interests of individuals conflict with the interests of groups, and how these tradeoffs could be made more efficiently, equitably, and transparently. Second, he examines the use of behavioral economic approaches, including framing effects, default options, and financial incentives, to improve patients’ and providers’ decisions, particularly those related to end-of-life care. Third, he seeks to improve the ethics and efficiency of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) by examining the intended and unintended consequences of incentives for research participation, and by developing new patient-centered outcome measures and methods for analyzing them.

Dr. Halpern’s research is supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Thoracic Society, and by a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics. He is the Founding Director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center (PAIR), the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS) program, and a member of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) Internal Advisory Board.

Selected Publications

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