HPR 5010: Economics of Health Care Delivery

Aaron Schwartz, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and the Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

This course examines how medical care is produced and financed in private and public sectors, economic models of consumer and producer behavior, and applications of economic theory to health care. This course provides an overview of the core concepts, findings, and views of health economics and health economists. It will also briefly cover the simple economics of competitive and non-competitive markets that frame economists’ perceptions and enthusiasm for markets, even medical markets. It will emphasize (1) how decisions on insurance coverage design and consequent impacts on physician decisionmaking are or should be related to “value” as defined in economics; and (2) public policy concerning competition in health insurance and care markets versus regulation. Potential conflicts between the goals of economic efficiency in allocation of resources to medical care and allocation of care to consumers and equity (various definitions) in the distribution of care across sub-populations will be examined.

HPR 6000: Introduction to Health Services Research and Innovation Science

Paula Chatterjee, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine 
Matthew Press, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine 

This course will provide students with an introduction to health services and health policy research. First, faculty representing various departments and schools at the University of Pennsylvania will introduce students to a number of "hot topics," including health disparities, medical decision making, neighborhoods and health, quality of care, access to care, behavioral incentives, and cost effectiveness research. Second, the course will offer an introduction to various career paths in the research and policy domains. Third, the course will provide a brief overview of practical issues such as grant opportunities, data options, publishing, and dissemination.

HPR 6030: Health Services and Policy Research Methods I: Primary Data Design and Collection

Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Judy Shea, PhD, Professor of Medicine; Co-Director, Masters of Science in Health Policy Research, Perelman School of Medicine

This course will introduce students to commonly used primary data collection methods and provide multiple examples of how they have been used in health services research. Through the course students will define a primary data collection research project and develop the methods necessary to conduct the project. To get the full benefit of this course, students should use this course to develop the methods they plan to employ in their primary data collection project.

HPR 6040: Introduction to Statistics for Health Policy

Wei Wang, PhD, Senior Research Investigator, Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center
This is the first semester of a two-semester sequence in biostatistics. It is an introductory statistics course covering descriptive statistics and data presentation, probability, random variables and their distributions, sampling, estimation, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. We focus on normally distributed and binary data. Students will learn how to recognize different sources and structures of data, formulate hypotheses, choose an appropriate approach to estimation and testing, and interpret the results.

HPR 6060: Fundamentals of Health Policy

Chen Kenyon, MD, MSHP, Associate Professor,, Perelman School of Medicine

While academic researchers often think of health policy in terms of research evidence and outcomes, politics and political processes also play important roles. The purpose of this course is to provide those pursuing careers in health services research and health policy with an understanding of the political context from which U.S. health policy emerges. This understanding is important for researchers who hope to ask and answer questions relevant to health policy and position their findings for policy translation. This understanding is important as well to policy leaders seeking to use evidence to create change. The class provides an overview of the U.S. health care system and then moves on to more comprehensive understanding of politics and government, including the economics of the public sector, the nature of persuasion, and techniques and formats for communication. The course emphasizes reading, discussion and applied policy analysis skills in both written and oral forms. Concepts will be reinforced with case studies, written assignments and a final policy simulation exercise where students will be placed in the position of political advisors and policy researchers.

HPR 6070: Health Services and Policy Research Methods II: Causal Inference Using Secondary Data 

Norma Coe, PhD, Associate Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine
Aditi Vasan, MD, MSHP, Instructor, Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine

Empirical research for health care policy frequently involves the analysis of observational data-information that is not primarily collected for research purposes. With the rapid increase in U.S. health information technology capacity, future opportunities for research using these "secondary data" appear promising. The objective of this course is to teach the skills necessary to conduct quality health policy research using secondary data. These skills include formulating research aims and applying appropriate study designs for achieving these aims. The course will also include a survey of the content and structure of several commonly used administrative and public databases available to researchers and workshops to develop the skills to access and manipulate these valuable resources.

HPR 6080: Applied Regression Analysis for Health Policy Research

Alex Vekker, PhD, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania

The course deals with the work horse of quantitative research in health policy research-the single outcome, multiple predictor regression model. In this course, students will learn how to 1) select an appropriate regression model for a given set of research questions/hypotheses, 2) assess how adequately a given model fits a particular set of observed data, and 3) how to correctlyinterpret the results from the model fitting procedure. After a brief review of fundamental concepts, students will spend five weeks covering the major topics in this course using the example of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. In the second half of this course, students will extend what they have learned to cover more complicated data situations.

Elective Courses

Three credit units of electives are available to supplement the core curriculum to provide instruction in quantitative and qualitative methods. Electives can be taken from within the program or in schools across the university.

HPR 5030: Qualitative Methods Research

Shimrit Keddem, PhD, Co-Director of the Qualitative Research Core at the Center for Health Equity, Research, and Promotion (CHERP) at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center

The purpose of this course is to expose students to a variety of qualitative approaches/methodologies that may be used in health services/policy research. In didactics we will discuss the pros and cons of a range of qualitative method how the method is actually implemented (with multiple experts presenting approaches), and pair the presentation with a broader discussion in which students compare and contrast health oriented articles in which the method was used. Students will compare and contrast health oriented articles in which the method was used. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theoretical approaches to their own research interests with direct input from the faculty and their peers.

HPR 6200: Implementation Science in Health and Health Care

Danielle Cullen, MD, MSHP, Instructor, CHOP PolicyLab
Emily Becker-Haimes, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine

This course presents a survey of the field of implementation science in health. The structure of the course will include two parts. In the first part, we will introduce the field of implementation science, with an emphasis on theory, design and measurement. In the second part, we will focus on applied implementation science which will include examples of research programs in implementation science as well as applying insights of implementation science to practical implementation.  An emphasis on qualitative and mixed methods approaches is included.

HPR 6210: Advanced Topics in Implementation Science

Meghan Lane-Fall, MD, MSHP, Associate Professor, Perelman School of Medicine

This seminar course offers an opportunity for students to advance their understanding of the thorniest methodological challenges in implementation science. Broadly, topics include study design, study execution, and tensions in the field. The intention will be for attendees to directly apply their learnings to their ongoing or proposed implementation research. This half credit course is intended for those who have already been exposed to the foundational content of implementation science. This can be achieved via HPR 611, the Penn Implementation Science Institute, or other training opportunities such as the NIH TIDIRH/TIDIRC or mentored K awards. Instructor permission is required for enrollment.

HPR 6250: Pragmatic Clinical Trials in Health Care

Katherine R. Courtright, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine

This seminar course offers an opportunity for students to understand what a pragmatic randomized controlled trial (RCT) is, how it differs from an explanatory RCT, why it is relevant, and key methodological and analytic issues that arise in the conduct of pragmatic trials. The student will also learn about ethical issues in pragmatic trials, nesting relevant studies within a trial, and trial reporting requirements. The intention will be for attendees to be able to directly apply their learnings to their ongoing or future clinical research. This half credit course is intended for those who have already been exposed to introductory epidemiology, biostatistics, and/or quantitative research methods.

HPR 6610: Clinical Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Institute

Gary Weissman, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are promising tools to improve clinical care, alleviate clinician burnout, and promote health equity and access. But little high-quality evidence exists to support their use in practice to achieve these aims. Furthermore, the current federal regulatory agencies charged with ensuring effectiveness, safety, and equity are still evolving to keep pace with technological developments. Generative AI models, such as large language models (LLMs), and those that generate images and video, also offer considerable opportunities for advances in medicine but with significant uncertainty in the optimal approaches for balancing oversight and innovation. This Institute provides a broad and basic overview to these emerging themes in clinical AI/ML with an introductory emphasis. Students will leave the Institute with i) an understanding of key AI/ML concepts as they are applied in a clinical and health policy domain, ii) a critical lens to evaluate AI/ML systems, iii) basic knowledge of the evolving regulatory environment around clinical AI/ML systems, and iv) a foundation to support ongoing learning and/or pursue further work in implementing AI/ML methods. There is no coding required for this course although additional materials will be provided for those wishing to study relevant approaches in R or Python in parallel outside of the required coursework.


HPR 6700: Health Care, Strategic Leadership & Business Acumen

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

This week-long course aims at developing essential business acumen and leadership skills required to thrive in a constantly changing health care ecosystem. Taught by invited faculty who have experience working with health care leaders, this course will focus on actionable knowledge in financial acumen, strategic decision making, innovation, and building high-performance teams. Through interactive mixed-mode delivery methods, faculty will share tools and frameworks, always with a focus on how to apply them, both personally and within an organizational context.

HPR 7140: Grant Writing and Review

John Farrar, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvani
Jeffrey Gerber, MD, PhD, Associate Director for Inpatient Research Activities for the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

This course is designed to assist students in the design of an NIH Grant (F-32, K, R21, or R01) or other grants for submission by enhancing their appreciation of the specifics of the grant writing process and in understanding the grant review process. This course provides background, training, and practice with the writing and submitting of NIGH-style grants. As a minimum, students who enroll will be expected to write and submit a reasonable draft of a full NIGH style grant proposal by the end of the term. During the process, the portions of each proposal will be reviewed as a group by other students in the course. In response to each review, students revise and strengthen their grant sections.