From Innovation to Dissemination: 2015/16 Seminar Series


This year’s CPHI seminar series is titled “From Innovation to Dissemination”. The series builds upon the University of Pennsylvania’s annual theme for 2015/16 – The Year of Discovery that focuses on both the long-range, planned and calculated research toward an intended goal as well as the more “spontaneous and serendipitous” discoveries.
This year’s series will create a forum for cross-sector communication around innovative public health solutions. Seminars will present real world solutions to complex problems including new finance mechanisms to fund public health initiatives, the use of digital health technology, and innovative approaches to address the opioid epidemic.

Throughout each series, we aim to encourage different perspectives to add to the conversation; we hope to foster current collaborations and spark new ones; and we hope to instill the importance of always searching for new ways to improve health.

Save-the-date! Fall Semester Seminar Line-up

Seminar Kickoff Event: Voices of Health Exhibit and CPHI Overview

September 9th (Wednesday) 4:30pm – 6:00pm | Register
Claudia Cohen Hall – Terrace Room

Come and join CPHI Fellows and the public health community to learn about CPHI and the resources that we have to offer. Wine reception to follow as you stroll through a photo exhibit that documents what the domain of “health” means to the Penn community. We asked over 300 students, staff, faculty members and community residents “what words come to mind when you think about health?”. This photo exhibit documents what they said.

Moving an Innovative Idea into Action: It’s Not as Hard as You May Think
Roy Rosin, MBA
Chief Innovation Officer
Penn Medicine’s Center for Innovation

September 18th (Friday) 12:00pm – 1:30pm | Register
Claudia Cohen Hall – Terrace Room

Join us as we hear from Roy Rosin, Chief Innovation Officer from Penn Medicine’s Center for Innovation where he works with thought leaders across the health system to turn ideas into measurable impact in the areas of health outcomes, patient experience and new revenue streams. Roy will talk about practical ways to turn your innovative idea into a reality. Roy received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated with honors from Harvard College. Outside of work he serves as a board member and angel investor for venture funded startups, an advisor to Fortune 100 companies and a coach to his son’s little league baseball teams.

Digital Health Innovation
Chris Murphy, PhD
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Computer and Information Science University of Pennsylvania
Nalaka Gooneratne, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Medicine UPenn, Presby, & VA

October 5th (Monday) 12:00pm – 1:30pm | Register
Krishna Singh Center for Nanotechnology

Move out of your comfort zone and into the world of Digital Health Technology. Drs. Murphy and Gooneratne will each bring their own expertise and demonstrate how to leverage digital technology into practical applications to improve health outcomes. Dr. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Computer & Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Masters of Computer & Information Technology program. Dr. Gooneratne is a physician specializing in sleep disorders. In addition to his research (funded by NIA, NCCAM and NHLBI), he is the Associate Program Director for the Clinical and Translational Research Center, and the mHealth service (mobile app development) within the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). He is also the director of the Masters in Translational Research Entrepreneurial Science track.

A New Approach to Address Social Challenges: Impact Bonds
Jeff Liebman, PhD
Professor of Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Moderated by:
Ezekiel Emanuel, PhD
Vice Provost for Global Initiatives
Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy
The University of Pennsylvania

October: Exact Date TBD

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), often referred to as Pay-For-Success, are a novel funding approach that combine components of results- or performance-based financing and public-private partnerships, which have been used to fund public services for many decades. With a SIB, financing is provided upfront rather than when results are attained and results are related to outcomes as opposed to outputs. To date, 44 SIBs are being utilized in developed countries to, among other social issues, provide high-quality preschool education, reduce prison recidivism, avoid foster care placement, and increase youth employment.

Dr. Liebman will walk us through the SIB model and see how we can apply it to fund public health services. Dr. Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, studies tax and budget policy, social insurance, poverty, and income inequality. During the first two years of the Obama Administration, Liebman worked at OMB, first as Executive Associate Director and Chief Economist and then as Acting Deputy Director. From 1998 to 1999, Liebman served as Special Assistant to the President for economic policy and coordinated the Clinton Administration’s Social Security reform technical working group.

Advocacy & Influence: Innovations Addressing Homelessness
Sister Mary Scullion
President & Executive Director
Project HOME

December 8th (Tuesday) 12:00pm-1:30pm| Register
Class of ’49 Auditorium

Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M. is a Philadelphia-based American Roman Catholic Religious Sister and activist, named by “Time” as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2009, alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Scullion has been involved in service work and advocacy for homeless and mentally ill persons since 1978. In 1989, she co-founded Project H.O.M.E., a nationally recognized organization that provides supportive housing, employment, education and health care to enable chronically homeless and low-income persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. Join us to hear Sister Mary’s powerful voice on political issues affecting homelessness and mentally ill persons. She will address how advocacy efforts can result in long-term sustainable policy and law changes.

Behavioral Economics: How People Process Information and Make Decisions
Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD
Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Leonard David Institute

January 12th (Tuesday) 12:00pm-1:30pm| Register
Arch 208 Auditorium, 3601 Locust Walk

Dr. Volpp is the founding Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI CHIBE), Director of the NIH-funded Penn CMU Roybal P30 Center in Behavioral Economics and Health, Vice Chairman for Health Policy for the Department of Medical Ethics and Policy, and a Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Health Care Management at the Wharton School. He is a core faculty member of the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) and a board certified practicing physician at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

The Science of Simple, Low-Cost Health and Safety Interventions
Charles Branas, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania

Sara Heller, PhD
Associate Professor of Criminology
University of Pennsylvania

February 25th (Thursday) 12:00pm-1:30pm| Register
Location TBD

Dr. Branas works to improve health and healthcare and is recognized for his efforts to reduce violence and enhance emergency care. Much of his work incorporates human geography and place-based change. His studies have taken him to cities and small towns across the US and other countries. Dr. Branas has served on boards and offered scientific expertise for numerous groups including the NIH, the CDC, and the National Academies in the US, as well as national scientific organizations in Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. His work has been cited by the US Supreme Court and Congress. He is a past President of the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society, and affiliated faculty at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.

Professor Heller focuses primarily on field experiments testing the effects of treatment interventions on crime, education, and other life outcomes. She is investigating the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy-based programming on juvenile crime and schooling outcomes. She is also conducting two related studies on the effects of summer jobs on youth, especially on their crime and labor market outcomes.

Innovative Practices to Address the Opioid Epidemic
Matthew Hurford, MD
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Community Care Behavioral Health Community

March 18th (Friday) 12:00pm-1:30pm| Register
Location TBD

Dr. Hurford is Vice President of Medical Affairs for Community Care Behavioral Health Organization one of the country’s largest not-for-profit behavioral health managed care organization. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Community Care serves over 750,000 Medicaid beneficiaries across Pennsylvania by facilitating the ongoing evolution of the behavioral health system toward one that embraces the journey of healing, transformation, and empowerment.

As VP of Medical Affairs at Community Care, Dr. Hurford provides leadership in the development of new business opportunities and program development including physical health/behavioral health integration and innovative healthcare payment models.

Prior to joining Community Care, Dr. Hurford served as the Chief Medical Officer of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) and Community Behavioral Health (CBH), a not-for-profit behavioral health managed care organization.

Additional training and educational opportunities:

LGBT Transgender Symposium: Training for Healthcare Providers
December 10th, 8:30am-1:00pm
Biomedical Research Building

Qualitative Research Institute
January 7th – 9th (all day training)
More details coming soon!

For questions about our seminar series, please contact Elizabeth Devietti

Travel Blog: Summer 2015 Public Health Work in Chicuque, Mozambique

Check out the Travel Blog of our amazing MPH/MSN student, Joshua Littlejohn.  He is working in Mozambique with Y-Center, a social innovation company that operates in Mozambique and India, for 12 weeks during the summer of 2015. The larger project that he is a part of is called Connect The Dots and is an SMS text-based system for disease reporting and supply inventory designed to connect community health workers (CHWs) with the central Ministry of Health. Josh’s project will be to work with the CHWs and local resources to create new visual media for use in education campaigns. These materials should be low-cost, easily reproducible, low-tech, and locally relevant.

He just uploaded his 2nd post: Map to Nowhere


First, I’ll give the basic run down of my week and then we’ll talk about some of the more existential stuff, that’s the fun part anyway. My week is pretty structured for not having a formal schedule or anything. Since I can’t sleep with all this friggin sunlight (hey, I’ve almost only ever worked night shifts, even before I was a nurse) I get up between 6 something and 7 something every morning, even without an alarm clock. My bucket bath in the morning is a great eye-opener and by the time I’m done with that I *almost* don’t need coffee… almost…

This week was the first actual week of work since Dr. Arlindo (the director of CoH) was back from Maputo (the capital) and the three missionaries were in the office. Actually, I think only two of them, Rose and Elfie, are missionaries and the third woman, Pastor Marcia, is local and works for Dr. Arlindo. Elfie is a nurse and Rose did a degree in health sciences and management. They are with the Methodist Church and Rose does the accounting and such for projects while Elfie works on developing the health projects that CoH conducts.

They get here between 7:30 and 8:30 and we have a small breakfast together usually. I’ve most likely had two cups of coffee by that point. Dhairya and I take our stuff into the work room down the hall on the work-side of CoH and make camp for the day at the collection of tables down there. I’ve been working on prototypes of the materials and gathering information about the area, thinking about the realities of life here, and how best to integrate what little information I have collected so far into some sort of meaningful messages.

UNISAF Y Center Banner

UNISAF Y Center Banner. The inside of the University. It is basically a giant O shape/square

Maria, who works at CoH in a general-help kind of position, usually puts out a small lunch of bread and cheese, tea, and maybe some boiled eggs. We eat together and chat a bit, then back to work and maybe a meeting with either Dr. Arlindo or the public health team (PHT – Elfie, Rose, and Pastor Marcia) The official work day ends about 3:00 and they actually kick us out of the work-side of CoH so that Manuel (Maria’s counterpart) can lock everything up. Sometimes he’s a bit over zealous and locks things up like the silverware … or dishes… lol.

I’m most likely not done doing whatever it was that I was working on, so I move back to my room and use the desk in there to work some more. I’ve thoroughly spread myself out over the entire room and used every surface that I could. In fact, I’d probably go crazy if there was another person in here with me to share the space… it’s been a long time since those undergrad years when I actually had to share a *room* with someone (not just an apartment).

UNISAF Y Center Banner1

UNISAF Y Center Banner1 UNISAF. The University in Maxixe that we work with sometimes.

I’ve taken a few afternoon trips


Fear and Safety at Penn: A Collaborative Student Research Exhibit

Check out Penn WIC’s new blog post about Dr. Rosemary Frasso’s Qualitative Methods graduate course for Social work and Public Health Students!


Dr. Rosemary Frasso, Allison Golinkoff (TA) and graduate student research team – Qualitative Research Methods for Social Work (SW 781)

Research seldom happens in silos.  Be it through the literature review, data collection, or publication, group collaboration is the ingredient that brings new ideas and perspectives to the research process.  It is with this spirit that Dr. Rosemary Frasso (Rosie), Allison Golinkoff (TA), and the student researchers of the Qualitative Methods graduate course for Social Work and Public Health students took teamwork to new heights this spring in theVan Pelt Collaborative Classroom.

From the start, the student researchers employed qualitative methods (Nominal Group Technique) to collectively determine the research topic of “fear and safety” at Penn. Next, each individual student-researcher conducted 5 intercept Freelisting interviews across campus to explore the topic. Using the full 360 degrees of writable whiteboard surfaces in the Collaborative Classroom, students began the process of analyzing Freelisting data to identify salient themes.


Student researchers begin organizing Freelisting data in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom

Inspired by the work of Drs. Carolyn Cannuscio,Mariana Chilton, and Gala True, Rosie designed this class project employing Photo Elicitation interviewing.  Students later made use of this same technique to further explore the meaning of fear and safety across the Penn community.  As a team, the class selected a sampling strategy and each student-researcher was tasked with recruiting a participant from within the Penn community to explore how she/he perceives fear and safety.  Over the course of one week, research participants used their smartphones or cameras to take photographs of any aspects of their daily lives that made them think of fear or safety.  The photos were then used to guide an interview between the researcher and the participant about those topics.

Dr. Frasso turned to group collaboration in the Collaborative Classroom as a strategy to help the student researchers make sense of the sizable amount of data they all collected.    Through collaborative analysis, student researchers found that their participants’ views on fear and safety revolved around eight thematic categories: vulnerability; sense of belonging; fear of failure; surveillance; physical and mental health; fear of the unknown; sources of comfort; and spaces and places.

The student researchers of Dr. Frasso’s class see their research findings as a potential catalyst for change at Penn.  To this end, they have made their work visible in many ways.  You can view their research exhibit, complete with photos and participant quotes, just outside the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom (right before the WIC entrance, to the right).  Students also plan to share their findings with key members of the Penn community such as President Amy Gutmann, CAPS, and GAPSA.

For more information on displaying your students’ work or using Van Pelt’s Collaborative Classroom for enhanced teamwork and engagement, visit:


Written by: Catrice Barrett

Arrest on the Run: How a Penn MPH Student Saved a Life Using CPR

On Sunday, May 3, 2015, Kelsey Sheak, a 2015 Master of Public Health Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, woke up and prepared to run the 10K Broad Street Run.  Shortly after starting the race, she noticed a crowd gathering around a collapsed man. Upon arriving at his side, Kelsey immediately put her CPR training into action.  Kelsey was one of the many bystanders who helped this fallen runner survive from his cardiac arrest.  Read her full story below.


Kelsey Sheak, 2015 MPH Candidate

Kelsey Sheak, 2015 MPH Candidate

CPHI: We heard you performed a life-saving procedure at the Broad Street Run on Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Kelsey Sheak: I did!  I was running and between miles 2 and 3 I saw a crowd of people. There was a gentleman in the center of the crowd and he was clearly having a medical emergency.  Shortly after I arrived, he lost his pulse.  Once he lost his pulse, a group of bystanders and I started administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  We communally performed CPR – one person would start, another person would step in, and so on.  After about ten minutes in, the Philadelphia Police Department came with an automated external defibrillator (AED). The police are trained on how to use AEDs and to provide emergency medical care. They took over for all the bystanders and the patient was shocked and taken to the hospital.  We were sent on our way and told to continue running. It was a little weird!

CPHI: Let’s back up for a minute. You are a Master of Public Health (MPH) student, but clearly you are well trained in CPR. What is your background?

KS: It’s crazy because 40,000 people ran the Broad Street Run and for me to come upon this is just mind-blowing – really serendipitous.  My background is in cardiac arrest research and education.  By profession I spend my days learning as much as I can about CPR and ways to improve it, ways to disseminate it, and ways to make survival much better.  To come across this situation where I needed to use it was crazy.

CPHI: Who were other bystanders?

KS: Most of the people that were helping the collapsed runner had medical backgrounds: nurses, a physician, and me.  The most important take-home message is that he didn’t need a medical professional; he just needed someone to recognize that he was in cardiac arrest and that he needed CPR.  Anyone who is trained can do that.  If you’re not trained in CPR, you should be!

CPHI: How was it meeting the collapsed runner the next day in the hospital?

KS: I went to the hospital after he arrested and I was able to meet his family.  They were very nice and very thankful.  I’m happy to know that he will go back to having a normal life.

CPHI: I want to take a moment to address a common misconception: many people think a heart attack is the same as a cardiac arrest. Can you help clear up this confusion?

KS: A cardiac arrest is when your heart stops and blood flow stops to the entire body.  With a heart attack, your heart doesn’t stop; rather, there is a blockage. Generally, people who have a heart attack have chest pain, they go to the hospital, and they can recover.  Cardiac arrest generally happens with little to no warning and people are generally healthy when it happens.  It can happen for a lot of different reasons and everyone’s reason is different.

CPHI: Is there a most common reason why cardiac arrest happens?

KS: There isn’t a most common reason – but there are situations that are most savable.  The gentleman at the race had a savable arrest because he had a shockable arrest.  This means that his heart was in a rhythm that a defibrillator could recognize and turn into a healthy heart rhythm.  Places like airports, casinos, and races are places where lots of cardiac arrest victims do well – there are numerous educated people around and these places are heavily watched. But there are also places where people don’t do well – like low-income neighborhoods, which are less likely to receive bystander CPR.

CPHI: After you helped save a fellow racer, did you continue running?

KS: Yes, I finished the race!


For more information about CPR and cardiac arrest, please visit the Penn Medicine Center for Resuscitation Science website.

Event Recap: The State of the State: Opioid Use and Misuse in Philadelphia

It was a pleasure to hear two inspirational people – Dr. Brian Work (MD, MPH) and Ms. Samantha Gross (JD, MPH) – talk about their paths to and work in community health at the Service Link, MedX, and Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club (WUHC) speaker event on Friday, April 10, 2015. My reflection can best be captured by the following lessons in career paths and working with community health.

Brian Work & Samantha Gross

Brian Work & Samantha Gross

On your journey to community health, remember:

  • Take advantage of serendipity
  • Nothing is irrevocable
  • Appreciate conversations / advice from people (even if unsolicited)
  • Participate in community work now! It’s called “practicing” medicine for a reason – it needs to become a habit. Life will already be full if you don’t prioritize community work now.

Community work embodies how medicine can improve with an interdisciplinary approach:

  • Community work makes Brian a better hospitalist
  • Community allows for engagement with a more diverse setting with more collaboration (e.g., medical-legal partnerships) instead of becoming too focused on a comfortable setting and subsequently isolated
  • Both medical treatments and legal policies are about harm reduction!

speaker event aprilAll of these insights and more were facilitated by our smooth moderator – Matthew Kearney – and packaged through Brian’s exuberant charm and Sam’s calm confidence. Look out for more at Service Link’s next speaker event (once per semester).


Written by: Neel Koyawala, Class of 2015 College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania undergraduate student