Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE

Office Location719, 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's research combines empirical approaches from the fields of epidemiology, health services research, and the decision-making sciences with conceptual work grounded in his training in bioethics. He applies these approaches in two main fields. First, he examines ways to improve the supply and 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 equitably and efficiently. Second, he translates principles of behavioral economic approaches, including framing effects, default options, and strategically deployed financial incentives, to improve patients’ 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 NIH, American Heart Association, Greenwall Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Selected Publications

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

2. Halpern SD, Barnes B, Hasz, RD, Abt PL. Estimated supply of controlled donors after circulatory determination of death: a population-based cohort study. JAMA 2010; 304: 2592-4.

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

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

5. Munson J, Christie JD, Halpern SD. Two for one or one for all? A decision analysis of single versus bilateral lung transplant strategies for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011; 184: 1282-8.PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 11/07)

6. Gabler NB, French B, Strom BL, Palevsky HI, Taichman DB, Kawut SM, Halpern SD. Validation of six-minute-walk distance as a surrogate endpoint in pulmonary arterial hypertension trials. Circulation 2012; 126:349-356.

7. Halpern SD, Loewenstein G, Volpp KG, Cooney E, Vranas K, Quill CM, McKenzie MS, Harhay MO, Gabler NB, Silva T, Arnold R, Angus DC, Bryce C. Default options in advance directives influence how patients set goals for end-of-life care. Health Affairs 2013; 32: 410-417.

8. Kerlin MP, Small DS, Cooney E, Fuchs BD, Bellini LM, Mikkelsen ME, Schweickert WD, Bakhru RN, Gabler NB, Harhay MO, Hansen-Flaschen J, Halpern SD. A randomized trial of nighttime physician staffing in an intensive care unit. New England Journal of Medicine 2013; 368: 2201-2209.

9. Wagner J, Gabler NB, Ratcliffe SJ, Brown SES, Strom BL, Halpern SD. Outcomes among patients discharged from busy intensive care units. Annals of Internal Medicine 2013; 159: 447-455.

10. Gabler NB, Ratcliffe SJ, Wagner J, Asch DA, Rubenfeld GD, Angus DC, Halpern SD. Mortality among patients admitted to strained intensive care units. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2013; 188: 800-806.

11. Wunsch H, Wagner J, Herlim M, Chong DH, Kramer A, Halpern SD. ICU occupancy and mechanical ventilator use in the United States. Critical Care Medicine 2013; 41: 2712-2719.

12. Brown SES, Ratcliffe SJ, Halpern SD. An empirical comparison of key statistical attributes among potential intensive care unit quality indicators. Critical Care Medicine 2014; 42: 1821-1831.

13. Harhay MO, Wagner J, Ratcliffe SJ, Bronheim RS, Gopal A, Green S, Cooney E, Mikklesen ME, Kerlin MP, Small DS, Halpern SD. Outcomes and statistical power in adult critical care randomized trials. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2014; 189: 1469-1478.

14. Auriemma CL, Nguyen CA, Bronheim R, Kent S, Nadigu S, Pardo D, Halpern SD. Stability of end-of-life preferences: A systematic review of the evidence. JAMA Internal Medicine 2014; 174: 1085-1092.

15. Halpern SD, Becker D, Curtis JR, Fowler R, Hyzy R, Kaplan LJ, Rawat N, Sessler C, Wunsch H, Kahn JM. An Official American Thoracic Society / American Association of Critical Care Nurses / American College of Chest Physicians / Society of Critical Care Medicine Policy Statement: The Choosing Wisely® Top 5 List in Critical Care Medicine. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2014; 190: 818-826.

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