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Headshot of Scott Halpern

Scott Halpern

Director of the PAIR Center

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Scott Halpern is the John M. Eisenberg Professor in Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology and of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a practicing critical care doctor, and the founding Director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center. Within PAIR, he also directs the NIH – funded Penn Roybal Center on Palliative Care in Dementia, the American Heart Association – funded BETTER Center (Behavioral Economics to Transform Trial Enrollment Representativeness), and the Penn Patient-Oriented Research and Training to Accelerate Learning (Penn PORTAL) Center. Major scientific contributions from early in his career include (1) developing and measuring the construct of “capability strain” – i.e., the causes and consequences of limits on a hospital’s or care unit’s ability to deliver high-quality care to all patients who could benefit from it at a given time; and (2) applying behavioral economic principles to focuses on (a) leading pragmatic randomize trials across large health systems that test scalable interventions to improve serious illness care, (b) improving the diversity and representativeness of clinical trial enrollment, and (c) reducing racial and other biases in commonly used clinical algorithms.

Dr. Halpern’s research has been recognized with the United States’ most prestigious awards for early-career scholars in both bioethics and health services research, and with dozens of mid-career achievement awards, including election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Hastings Center. His proudest academic accomplishment is his track record of mentorship, including as primary mentor for more than a dozen successful applicants for NIH K awards. He lives with his wife and two daughters. Dr. Halpern and his wife – also a Penn medical school graduate and current Penn Physician – can often be found camping, cooking, cycling, or cheering on the Phillies or 76ers, but their greatest joys are watching their daughters’ softball games and theatre performances.