RWJF Young Leader Award
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced that Dr. Raina Merchant and Dr. Scott Halpern of the Perelman School of Medicine, have been selected to receive the inaugural RWJF Young Leader Award. The award recognizes leaders ages 40 and under for their exceptional contributions to improving the health of the nation. Penn is the only institution—public or private—to have more than one winner honored. Each recipient will receive $40,000.
Dr. Merchant is an assistant professor of emergency medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. An expert in treatment for cardiac arrest, which is among the nation’s top killers, her research focuses on the creation and dissemination of new media-driven tactics for improving survival from this deadly condition for resuscitation science. As the creator and director of the MyHeartMap Challenge, a mobile phone-fueled crowdsourcing contest that mapped the locations of automated external defibrillators, she made Philadelphia the first city in the nation to have a map of these lifesaving devices (Almanac January 17, 2012). That data will now be used by 911 operators and bystanders to locate the nearest AED for bystanders to use during cardiac emergencies before EMS arrives.
Dr. Halpern is deputy director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at Penn and an assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and medical ethics and health policy. He is also the founding director of the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS) program, which created a multidisciplinary team of Penn faculty working toward the common goal of improving the timing, content and outcomes of the end-of-life decisions made by patients, family members and providers. By translating knowledge from the fields of economics, psychology, medical ethics and epidemiology, the multidisciplinary teams he has built test a variety of scalable—and hence, sustainable—interventions to improve health-related decision making, particularly in such charged but critical areas as end-of-life care.