Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Associate Director, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE)

Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI)


Harsha Thirumurthy is Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), where he leads global health initiatives. He is also a Research Associate at Penn’s Population Studies Center and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI).

Prof. Thirumurthy’s interests lie at the intersection of behavioral economics and public health. His research seeks to understand decision making of individual, households, and health care providers in low-income settings. His research agenda also includes the design and evaluate interventions that can achieve changes in health behaviors in low-income settings, particularly eastern and southern Africa. His research has also assessed health and economic impacts of large-scale health initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative. Prof. Thirumurthy’s research has appeared in leading journals in economics, public health, and medicine, including JAMA, The Lancet HIV, The Lancet Global Health, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, PLOS Medicine, the Journal of Public Economics, and the American Economic Journal-Applied Economics. Currently he is leading projects on the use of HIV self-tests to improve decision-making in Kenya and on the use of novel incentive-based interventions to promote HIV testing and engagement in care in Uganda. He is also leading projects on mental health outcomes in South Africa and on social accountability interventions to improve child health outcomes in India.

Prof. Thirumurthy completed a Ph.D. in economics at Yale University. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, he was on the faculty at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to research activities, Prof. Thirumurthy serves on the WHO’s Guidelines Development Group on male circumcision for HIV prevention and is a member of the Population Sciences review panel at NIH.