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Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) announced in September a University-wide initiative in which a group of top health service researchers from across campus would “foster and support new scientific inquiries aimed at finding solutions to the problems of institutional, structural, and interpersonal racism that impact health, including throughout the US healthcare system,” per the news release.

The broad effort—called “Bold Solutions: Dismantle Racism. Advance Health.”—will emphasize that health is a fundamental barometer of social justice and be aided by an LDI-funded program of pilot grants to start the first round of research projects.

“Health systems are hubs of science and innovation and often the dominant economic engines in their communities,” said Kevin Volpp M’96 Gr’97 GrW’98, the director of the Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. “Healthcare organizations must be at the forefront of fighting racism.”

“We want to overcome inertia and resistance to make bold, necessary, and essential change that addresses the effects of racism on health,” added Rachel Werner M’98 GM’01 GrW’04, LDI’s executive director.

Volpp and Werner are among eight Bold Solutions team members. The others are Raina Merchant Gr’09 GM’10, director of the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health; David Asch GM’87 WG’89 , executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation; Alison Buttenheim, associate director of the Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics and director of engagement at LDI; Carolyn Cannuscio CGS’01, director of research at the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives; Atheendar Venkataramani, director of the Penn Opportunity for Health Lab; and Eugenia South Gr’12, director of the Urban Health Lab (see previous story).

Every Bold Solutions project will aim to have a Black co-leader and will partner with Black faculty, staff, and students. Initial areas of focus will be on healthcare, payment models, neighborhoods and built environments, economic opportunities, and financial health.

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