Scott D. Halpern

faculty photo
Professor of Medicine
Department: Medicine

Contact information
301 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021
Office: 215-898-1462
Graduate Group Affiliations
B.S. (Psychology and Economics)
Duke University, 1995.
M.S.C.E. (Epidemiology)
University of Pennsylvania, 2001.
M.Be (Bioethics)
University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
Ph.D. (Epidemiology)
University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
M.D. (Medicine)
University of Pennsylvania, 2003.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Diseases, 2008.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Critical Care, 2009.
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Description of Bioethics Expertise

Scott D. Halpern, M.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor (with Tenure) of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founding Director of the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS) program, founding Director of the Critical Care Health Services Research (CC HSR) group, Deputy Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economic (CHIBE), and a practicing critical care medicine doctor. The FIELDS program includes scholars from multiple health-related disciplines who are united by the belief that untoward influences on how patients, family members, and providers make choices contribute to the high intensity of care that many patients receive near the ends of their lives. The CC HSR group examines questions related to the allocation of ICU beds and services and transplantable organs, and how these allocation paradigms could be made more efficient and equitable. Finally, the CHIBE develops behavioral economic interventions that reduce the unhealthy behaviors (e.g., smoking, overeating, and medication non-adherence) that account for the majority of preventable morbidity and mortality in the developed world, without unduly constraining people’s autonomous choice.

Dr. Halpern’s research is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, and the American Heart Association. He has received the United States’ most prestigious awards for young academics in two different disciplines: the Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar Award (2008) in bioethics, and AcademyHealth’s Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award (2011) in health services research. In 2012, Dr. Halpern was 1 of 10 people to receive the Young Leader Award as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 40th Anniversary, recognizing people aged 40 or under who offer “great promise for leading the way to improved health and health care for all Americans.” He is an Anniversary Fellow at the Institute of Medicine, an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Bioethics. Dr. Halpern has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, and roughly 50 editorials, reviews, and chapters. His research has been featured in every major American media outlet, and he has consulted on ethical and scientific matters for the NIH, CDC, UNOS, The World Bank, and two Advisory Committees to the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services.

Selected Publications

Bekelman Justin E, Halpern Scott D, Blankart Carl Rudolf, Bynum Julie P, Cohen Joachim, Fowler Robert, Kaasa Stein, Kwietniewski Lukas, Melberg Hans Olav, Onwuteaka-Philipsen Bregje, Oosterveld-Vlug Mariska, Pring Andrew, Schreyögg Jonas, Ulrich Connie M, Verne Julia, Wunsch Hannah, Emanuel Ezekiel J: Comparison of Site of Death, Health Care Utilization, and Hospital Expenditures for Patients Dying With Cancer in 7 Developed Countries. JAMA 315(3): 272-83, Jan 2016.

Halpern Scott D, French Benjamin, Small Dylan S, Saulsgiver Kathryn, Harhay Michael O, Audrain-McGovern Janet, Loewenstein George, Asch David A, Volpp Kevin G: Heterogeneity in the Effects of Reward- and Deposit-based Financial Incentives on Smoking Cessation. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 194(8): 981-988, Apr 2016.

Auriemma Catherine L, Chen Lucy, Olorunnisola Michael, Delman Aaron, Nguyen Christina A, Cooney Elizabeth, Gabler Nicole B, Halpern Scott D: Public Opinion Regarding Financial Incentives to Engage in Advance Care Planning and Complete Advance Directives. The American journal of hospice & palliative care 34(8): 721-728, Jun 2017.

Gabler Nicole B, Cooney Elizabeth, Small Dylan S, Troxel Andrea B, Arnold Robert M, White Douglas B, Angus Derek C, Loewenstein George, Volpp Kevin G, Bryce Cindy L, Halpern Scott D: Default options in advance directives: study protocol for a randomised clinical trial. BMJ open 6(6): e010628, Jun 2016.

Courtright Katherine R, Madden Vanessa, Gabler Nicole B, Cooney Elizabeth, Small Dylan S, Troxel Andrea, Casarett David, Ersek Mary, Cassel J Brian, Nicholas Lauren Hersch, Escobar Gabriel, Hill Sarah H, O'Brien Dan, Vogel Mark, Halpern Scott D: Rationale and Design of the Randomized Evaluation of Default Access to Palliative Services (REDAPS) Trial. Annals of the American Thoracic Society 13(9): 1629-39, Jun 2016.

Moore Kendra A, Rubin Emily B, Halpern Scott D: The Problems With Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. JAMA 315(3): 259-60, Jan 2016.

Halpern Scott D, French Benjamin, Small Dylan S, Saulsgiver Kathryn, Harhay Michael O, Audrain-McGovern Janet, Loewenstein George, Brennan Troyen A, Asch David A, Volpp Kevin G: Randomized trial of four financial-incentive programs for smoking cessation. The New England Journal of Medicine 372(22): 2108-17, May 2015.

Halpern Scott D: Toward Evidence-Based End-of-Life Care. The New England journal of medicine 373(21): 2001-3, Nov 2015.

Halpern Scott D, Emanuel Ezekiel J: Can the United States buy better advance care planning? Annals of Internal Medicine 162(3): 224-5, Feb 2015.

Kerlin MP, Small DS, Cooney E, Fuchs BD, Bellini LM, Mikkelsen ME, Schweickert WD, Bakhru RN, Gabler NB, Harhay MO, Hansen-Flaschen J, Halpern SD.: A randomized trial of nighttime physician staffing in an intensive care unit. New England Journal of Medicine 368(23): 2201-2209, Jun 2013.

French Benjamin, Small Dylan S, Novak Julie, Saulsgiver Kathryn A, Harhay Michael O, Asch David A, Volpp Kevin G, Halpern Scott D: Preference-adaptive randomization in comparative effectiveness studies. Trials 16: 99, Mar 2015.

Harhay MO, Wagner J, Ratcliffe SJ, Bronheim RS, Gopal A, Green S, Cooney E, Mikklesen ME, Kerlin MP, Small DS, Halpern SD: Outcomes and statistical power in adult critical care randomized trials. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 189(12): 1469-78, Jun 2014.

Brown SES, Rey MM, Pardo D, Weinreb S, Ratcliffe SJ, Gabler NB, Halpern SD: The allocation of intensivists’ rounding time under conditions of ICU capacity strain. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 190(7): 831-834, Oct 2014.

Auriemma CL, Nguyen CA, Bronheim R, Kent S, Nadigu S, Pardo D, Halpern SD. : Stability of end-of-life preferences: A systematic review of the evidence. JAMA Internal Medicine 174(7): 1085-1092, July 2014

Halpern SD, Loewenstein G, Volpp KG, Cooney E, Vranas K, Quill CM, McKenzie MS, Harhay MO, Gabler NB, Silva T, Arnold R, Angus DC, Bryce C.: Default options in advance directives influence how patients set goals for end-of-life care. Health Affairs 32(2): 410-417, Feb 2013.

Goldberg DS, Forde KA, French BC, Groenveld PW, Bittermann T, Halpern SD, Kaplan DA: Association of distance from a transplant center with access to waitlist placement, receipt of liver transplantation, and survival. JAMA 311(12): 1234-43, Mar 2014.

Brown SES, Ratcliffe SJ, Halpern SD. : An empirical comparison of key statistical attributes among potential intensive care unit quality indicators. Critical Care Medicine 42(8): 1821-31, Aug 2014.

Quill CM, Ratcliffe SJ, Harhay MO, Halpern SD. Variation in decisions to forgo life-sustaining therapies in U.S. intensive care units. (: Variation in decisions to forgo life-sustaining therapies in U.S. intensive care units. Chest 146(3): 573-82, Sep 2014.

Gabler NB, Ratcliffe SJ, Wagner J, Asch DA, Rubenfeld GD, Angus DC, Halpern SD. : Mortality among patients admitted to strained Intensive Care Units. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 188(7): 800-806, Oct 2013.

Truog RD, Miller FG, Halpern SD. : The dead-donor rule and the future of organ donation. New England Journal of Medicine 369(14): 1287-1289, Oct 2013.

Wagner J, Gabler NB, Ratcliffe SJ, Brown SES, Strom BL, Halpern SD.: Outcomes among patients discharged from busy intensive care units. Annals of Internal Medicine 159(7): 447-455, Oct 2013.

Brown SES, Ratcliffe SJ, Halpern SD.: An empirical derivation of the optimal time interval for defining ICU readmissions. Medical Care 51(8): 706-714, Aug 2013.

Halpern SD, Asch DA, Volpp KG: Commitment contracts as a way to health. BMJ 344: e522, Jan 2012.

Gabler Nicole B, French Benjamin, Strom Brian L, Palevsky Harold I, Taichman Darren B, Kawut Steven M, Halpern Scott D: Validation of 6-minute walk distance as a surrogate end point in pulmonary arterial hypertension trials. Circulation 126(3): 349-56, Jul 2012.

Brown Sydney E S, Ratcliffe Sarah J, Kahn Jeremy M, Halpern Scott D: The epidemiology of intensive care unit readmissions in the United States. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 185(9): 955-64, May 2012.

Halpern SD, Barnes B, Hasz RD, Abt PL: Estimated supply of organ donors after circulatory determination of death: a population-based cohort study. JAMA 304(23): 2592-4, Dec 2010.

Halpern SD, Raz A, Kohn R, Rey M, Asch DA, Reese P: Regulated payments for living kidney donation: an empirical assessment of the ethical concerns. Annals of Internal Medicine 152(6): 358-65, Mar 2010.

Thabut G, Christie JD, Kremers WK, Fournier M, Halpern SD: Survival differences following lung transplantation among US transplant centers. JAMA 304(1): 53-60, Jul 2010.

Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Asch DA: Harnessing the power of default options to improve health care. New England Journal of Medicine 357(13): 1340-4, Sep 2007.

Weissman Gary E, Halpern Scott D: Evidence supports the superiority of closed ICUs for patients and families: No. Intensive Care Medicine 43(1): 124-127, Jan 2017.

Courtright Katherine R, Madden Vanessa, Gabler Nicole B, Cooney Elizabeth, Kim Jennifer, Herbst Nicole, Burgoon Lauren, Whealdon Jennifer, Dember Laura M, Halpern Scott D: A Randomized Trial of Expanding Choice Sets to Motivate Advance Directive Completion. Medical Decision Making 37(5): 544-554, July 2017.

Kohn R, Madden V, Kahn JM, Asch DA, Barnato AE, Halpern SD, Kerlin MP: Diffusion of Evidence-Based Intensive Care Unit Organizational Practices: A State-Wide Analysis. Annals of the American Thoracic Society 14(2):254-261, Feb 2017.

Kerlin MP, Halpern SD: Changing Intensivists' Behaviors- A Challenge in Need of New Solutions. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 196: 2-4, Sept 2017.

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Last updated: 03/15/2018
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