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2018 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation David E. Rogers Award

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David A. Asch, MD, MBA, Executive Director, Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, John Morgan Professor, Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Over a three-decade career, David A. Asch, MD, MBA, has combined his knowledge of behavioral economics with his passion for social justice to elevate not just the standard of health care delivery in America but the education of future physicians.

Early in his career, Dr. Asch directed a series of high-profile studies that demonstrated the ethical failings that plague the care of patients in intensive care units — work that ultimately informed several Supreme Court decisions on end-of-life care. His subsequent research on the consequences of genetic testing for cystic fibrosis and for mutations in breast cancer susceptibility (BRCA) genes that affect breast and ovarian cancers was influential in establishing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

As executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, Dr. Asch continues to test and develop creative approaches to improving patient care. Using techniques from industry, his team has created new care models to improve the reach, cost, and quality of dozens of common clinical interventions, including hypertension management, antibiotic stewardship, colorectal screening, and appointment scheduling.

A prolific author, Dr. Asch has penned more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and dozens of editorials and reports, including more than two dozen Perspectives and Viewpoints in the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA.

Dr. Asch has also made many impressive contributions in the area of medical education. His work demonstrating how medical residency programs can be evaluated by assessing the outcomes of patients was instrumental in the design of the new accreditation standards for graduate medical education. He is also the principal investigator of iCOMPARE, the largest NIH-funded randomized trial of medical education, which is studying alternative duty hours for residents to assess the impact on education, sleep, and patient safety. In 2009, he was awarded the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award by the AOA and the AAMC.

“When I step back and think about David Asch’s contributions, I see in him the kind of contagious and impish enthusiasm for a future social order that is better than what we have now,” says Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD. “I see effectiveness in discovery, in policy change, and in the development of human capacity to continue this work.”

Dr. Asch graduated from Harvard University and earned his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and his MBA in decision sciences and health care management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship in general internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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