The overall goal of the Pilot Core will be to carry out innovative pilot research according to the scientific direction provided by the External and Internal Advisory Boards and in keeping with the goals ofthe NIA Roybal Centers for Translational Research on Aging. Testing ideas in real-world health care settings will enable us to better understand mechanisms of behavior change using approaches from behavioral economics (Priority Area 1 for this Funding Opportunity Announcement and the thematic focus of our Center) and the consequences of such behavior change for health. The primary aim of the Pilot Core will be to support pilot projects that translate ideas from behavioral economics into practice in 'real world' settings and that test interventions for middle-aged and elderly Americans at high risk for premature morbidity and mortality. Secondary objectives will be to mentor and train junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students in behavioral economics; to encourage interaction between investigators at Penn and affiliated researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and other universities; and to build collaborations with new partner organizations that have access to populations and potential willingness to translate results from the research studies into practice. In this pilot core, we have chosen to emphasize pilots that directly leverage the infrastructure and access to populations of collaborating organizations, as that inherently makes these pilots more likely to be translated into practice. The 6 exemplar pilots featured in this proposal will examine issues relating to information and incentives on food choice (using the world's largest online food delivery company), using 'fresh starts' to improve healthy behavior including medication adherence (at one of the nation's largest insurers), the use of the endowment effect to increase the effectiveness of health incentives (at a fitness facility), choice architecture and organ donation (among residents of Massachusetts), the impact of expanding choice sets to increase completion of advanced directives (in collaboration with one of the nation's largest dialysis vendors, DaVita), and the impact of nonlinear pricing on portion size of unhealthy food purchases (with grocery stores in western Pennsylvania). 5 of the 6 pilots will be led by junior faculty, providing an opportunity for them to develop and test ideas with promise for translation of their findings into practice.
The Penn Roybal Center in Behavioral Economics and Health will tackle major public health challenges such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, a national shortage of organ donors, and medication non-adherence utilizing concepts and tools from behavioral economics and a network of social scientists and physicians centered at the University of Pennsylvania.
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