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
  • Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Perelman School of Medicine
  • John Morgan Professor

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    PCAM 6 South Tower - Dean's Suite
    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

Ken Shine Prize in Health Leadership, University of Texas, 2022
Publication-of-the-Year, AcademyHealth (with MK Delgado and others), 2022
Excellence in Innovation in Clinical Practice Award, Division of General Internal Medicine, 2022
ACTS Clinical and Translational Research Distinguished Educator Award for Innovation, 2022
Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2020
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, 2012-2022
Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, 2013-2017
Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives, 2022-present



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All Courses

  • HCIN6070 - Translating Ideas

    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.

  • HCIN6080 - Health Insurance Dsgn & Value

    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 David Asch, MD, MBA and Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD. In the final 3 weeks, you will study Driving Value in Health Care with Lee Fleisher, MD. Strategies for Health Insurance and Benefit Design: Recent efforts to increase the amount of health produced through health insurance benefits relative to the cost have utilized a number of strategies. These have included high deductible health plans, price transparency, value-based insurance design, simplifying health plan designs, and providing incentives geared to influencing utilization. In this course, we will discuss some of the main challenges facing health insurers, efforts to reduce growth in entitlement spending, and research that uses on the effectiveness of different strategies to modify behavior through the use of incentives embedded within health insurance design. This course will emphasize both understanding and practical applications of this knowledge through a combination of lectures and interviews with expert practitioners. Following completion of this course, students will have a deeper understanding of some of the tradeoffs inherent in the approaches insurers are taking to provide greater value and health improvement for their beneficiaries. Paired with Driving Value in Health Care. We explore methods for analyzing value drivers and survey strategies to improve value (defined as quality over cost) in a health care system. Most policy experts agree that by focusing on value, we can align incentives for different groups within the health care system to address our most pressing problems. This course gives you the tools to do that by examining topics including the determinants of value, methodologies for understanding value drivers, and real-world examples of improving value through quality improvement. Through your work, you will identify gaps in quality, track inefficiencies in the patient experience, and ultimately build a persuasive presentation focused on reducing low-value care.

  • HCMG8990 - Independent Study

    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.

  • HPR9900 - 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.

  • HPR9901 - Hpr Thesis II

    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.

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In the News

With High-deductible Employer Health Plans, Who Wins?

High-deductible employer health plans are cheaper for businesses and may also be cheaper for employees. But are they too much of a gamble?Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 6/17/2019
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