David A. Asch

David A. Asch
  • Professor of Medicine, Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Professor of Health Care Management, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions
  • Executive Director, Center for Health Care Innovation
  • John Morgan Professor

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    PCAM 14-171 South Tower
    3400 Civic Center Boulevard
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: behavioral economics, clinician and patient decision making, health care management, health policy, medical ethics, physician executives, technology assessment



MD, Cornell University, 1984
MBA, The Wharton School, 1989
AB, Harvard University, 1980

Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Award

Distinguished Career Award, AcademyHealth, 2020
Publication-of-the-Year, AcademyHealth (with J Silber and others), 2020
Distinguished Investigator Award: Translation from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy, Association of Clinical and Translational Science, 2019
Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2019
RWJF David E. Rogers Award – Association of American Medical Colleges, 2018
Wharton Health Care Alumni Association Achievement Award, 2017
Article of the Year Award – AcademyHealth, 2016
Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator Award, 2014
Distinguished Graduate Award, Perelman, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2012
John M. Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2010
Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2009
Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research, Department of Veterans Affairs, 2008
Elected Member, Institute of Medicine, 2007
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2006
Elected Member, Association of American Physicians, 2005
Arthur K. Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, 2004
Research Mentorship Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2004
Robert C. Witt Research Award, American Risk and Insurance Association, 2000
Samuel P. Martin, III Award in Health Services Research, 1999
Outstanding Investigator Award in Clinical Science, American Federation for Medical Research, 1999
Nellie Westerman Prize, American Federation for Medical Research, 1998
Outstanding Paper Award, Society for Medical Decision Making, 1997
Alice Hersh New Investigator Award, AcademyHealth, 1997
John M. Eisenberg Teaching Award, 1995

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1998-present
Named Robert D. Eilers Professor, 1998-2012
Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics 1998-2012

University of Pennsylvania: 1989-present
Chief, Section of General Internal Medicine, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, 1993-1996
Director, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Department of Veterans Affairs, 2001-2012
Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, 2002-2014
Executive Director, Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, 2012-present
Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, 2013-present



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Past Courses


    This course applies state-of-the-art innovation methodologies to improve health care delivery for providers, and outcomes and experience for patients. It begins with an extended discussion of how we might apply principles of analytical and scientific thinking including rhetorical analysis and behavioral economics to operational problems in health care. And it examines strategies for identifying and solving those problems; including ethnographic research to reveal what others have missed; problem reframing to enable high-impact solution directions; intentional divergence to unlock teams from initial, less productive concepts; rapid hypothesis validation to learn quickly at low cost whether and how best to invest in scaling; and designing delightful experiences, which drive word-of-mouth and catalyze the spread of desirable behaviors.


    This is a 6-week, 1 cu, online course that pairs two complementary course topics. In the first 3 weeks, you will study Health Insurance and Benefit Design with Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD. In the final 3 weeks, you will study Health Law Fundamentals with Penn Law Dean Theodore Ruger. Health Insurance and Benefit Design (Volpp) advances your understanding of recent trends in health insurance and the complexity of benefit design, including some of the trade-offs insurers and employers are taking to provide greater value for their beneficiaries. Use this knowledge to analyze programs and identify opportunities for future innovation in health insurance and benefit design. Health Law Fundamentals (Ruger) examines the legal and regulatory aspects of health care in the United States, including statutes, regulations, common law, and market forces, and discusses how they shape the health care system. Utilize this knowledge to analyze the validity and scope of policy documents that govern health care in the United States and evaluate complex scenarios in terms of health law.


    This course will explore the effects of the changing health care environment on the physician, patient and health care manager. It is intended for any undergraduate with an interest in how 1/6th of the American economy is organized as well as those planning careers as health care providers and managers. The course complements other health care courses (that take a societal perspective) by focusing on the individuals who participate in the health care enterprise. There are no prerequisites, as the course will stand on its own content. The course will be divided into modules that focus on the participants of the health care process and the process itself. We will analyze the patient, the doctor, and manager in light of the patient-doctor interaction, the turbulent health care marketplace, expensive new technologies,resource allocation, and ethics.


    Arranged with members of the Faculty of the Health Care Systems Department. For further information contact the Department office, Room 204, Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, 898-6861.

  • HPR 951 - HPR THESIS I

    Each student completes a mentored research project that includes a thesis proposal and a thesis committee and results in a publishable scholarly product. Prerequisite: Course only open to Masters of Science in Health Policy Research students.


    Each student completes a mentored research project that includes a thesis proposal and a thesis committee and results in a publishable scholarly product. Prerequisite: Course only open to Masters of Science in Health Policy Research students.

In the News


Latest Research

Colman Humphrey, Dylan Small, Shane T. Jensen, Kevin Volpp, David A. Asch, Jingsan Zhu, Andrea B. Troxel (2019), Modeling Lottery Incentives for Daily Adherence, Statistics in Medicine, 38 (15), pp. 2847-2867.
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In the News

How the Pandemic Has Exposed Racial Disparities in Health Care

A new study co-authored by Wharton’s David Asch finds Black patients are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 because of where they are hospitalized.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 7/13/2021
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