Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE

Office Location723, Blockley Hall
Office Phone215-898-1462

Faculty Information

CCEB AppointmentSenior Scholar, Epidemiology
Primary Faculty AppointmentAssistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Perelman SOM
DBE AppointmentAssistant Professor of Epidemiology

Research Statement

Dr. Halpern is interested in the policy and ethical implications of the decisions made by clinicians and patients. His 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 in two related fields. First, he examines the allocation of scarce healthcare resources including ICU beds and services, solid-organ transplants, and blood products. 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 better. Second, he examines the use of behavioral economic approaches, including framing effects, default options, and financial incentives, to improve patientsí decisions related to selections of end-of-life care, smoking cessation, enrollment in clinical trials, and other health-related behaviors. Dr. Halpern's work is supported by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Cancer Institute, Institute on Aging, Greenwall Foundation, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and American Thoracic Society.

Selected Publications

Halpern SD, Karlawish JHT, Berlin JA. The continuing unethical conduct of underpowered clinical trials. JAMA 2002, 288:358-62.

Halpern SD, Karlawish JHT, Casarett D, Berlin JA, Asch DA. Empirical assessment of whether moderate payments are undue or unjust inducements for participation in clinical trials. Archives of Internal Medicine 2004; 164:801-3.

Halpern SD. HIV testing without consent in critically ill patients. JAMA 2005; 294: 734-7.

Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Asch DA. Harnessing the power of default options to improve healthcare. New England Journal of Medicine 2007; 357:1340-44.

Halpern SD, Shaked A, Hasz RD, Caplan AL. Informing candidates for solid-organ transplantation about donor risk factors. New England Journal of Medicine 2008; 358:2832-2837.

Halpern SD, Madison KM, Volpp KG. Patients as mercenaries? The ethics of using financial incentives in the war on unhealthy behaviors. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2009; 2: 514-516.

Halpern SD, Raz A, Kohn R, Rey M, Asch DA, Reese PP. Regulated payments for living kidney donation: An empirical assessment of the ethical concerns. Annals of Internal Medicine 2010; 152: 358-65

Thabut G, Christie JD, Fournier, M, Kremers WK, Halpern SD. Survival differences following lung transplantation among US transplant centers. JAMA 2010; 304:53-60.

Swindell JS, McGuire AL, Halpern SD. Shaping patients' decisions. Chest 2010; (in press)

Rey MM, Ware LB, Matthay MA, Bernard G, McGuire AL, Caplan AL, Halpern SD. Informed consent in research to improve the number and quality of deceased-donor organs. Critical Care Medicine 2010; (in press).

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