Clinical Scholars program

TwitterYou TubeLinked In
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
Yale University

University of Pennsylvania

Click here to view the University of Pennsylvania Scholar List

UCLA logo

National Meeting 2011 - Penn

2011 Clinical Scholars National Meeting - Washington DC

Program Description:

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program at the University of Pennsylvania is designed to provide training in health policy and community-relevant research to outstanding physicians who are committed to improving health and health care in the U.S. The core of the training experience includes coursework and a thesis leading to a Masters of Science in Health Policy Research. The program includes didactic experiences in study design and analysis for both community and policy research, as well as training in leadership, communication, bioethics and multidisciplinary science. The participating faculty, including lecturers and individual scholar mentors, are drawn from across the University from the Schools of Medicine, Law, Social Policy and Practice, Education and Nursing, as well as the Wharton School and Annenberg School for Communication. Key clinical partners include the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia VA Medical Center. All scholars participate in clinical activities tailored towards their clinical interests.

Scholar research projects range from community-based research partnerships with primary data collection to large-scale health policy analysis using national administrative datasets. All research projects are guided by small teams of faculty mentors, with frequent opportunities for group feedback on research in progress. The program connects scholars with a strong network of faculty on the campus, community leaders from Philadelphia, and program alumni across the U.S. A multidisciplinary weekly seminar series and visiting speaker series help further link scholars to a diverse group of researchers and health care leaders. All scholars collaborate on a community-generated project at the start of the program and then individual organizational relationships with the nonprofit sector are facilitated by the program and help guide the scholar activities and professional development through the rest of the program. These organizational linkages help stimulate diverse training experiences for scholars both on and off the campus.


David A Asch, MD, MBA

David A Asch, MD, MBA (Co-Director)

David A Asch, MD, MBA is Director of the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Innovation, a program that spans the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Perelman School of Medicine and aims to advance their missions through the disciplined  creation, evaluation, and implementation of change.  He is Co-Director of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program.

Dr. Asch’s research aims to understand and improve how physicians and patients make medical choices in clinical, financial, and ethically charged settings, including the adoption of new pharmaceuticals or medical technologies, the purchase of insurance, and personal health behaviors.  His research combines elements of economic analysis with moral and psychological theory and marketing.

He teaches health policy at the Wharton School and he practices internal medicine at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he created and from 2001 to 2012 directed the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.  From 1998 to 2012 he was Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

 He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Judith Long, M. D.

Judith Long, M. D. (Co-Director)

Judith Long, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, as well as core faculty for the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion and a member of both the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. Dr. Long trained in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholarship at Yale. Dr. Long’s research focuses on social determinants of health and health care especially as they pertain to socioeconomic and racial disparities. Dr. Long assesses these issues in the context of chronic disease, especially diabetes, using established measures to gauge disease specific medical outcomes. Among others things, recent research has focused on interventions to aimed at improving glucose control in low income and minority populations using peer mentors and financial incentives as well as evaluating delivery of care for patients with both diabetes and serious mental illness.

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP (Co-Director)

Dr. Merchant is Co-Director of the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care. She is also the Director of the Penn Social Media and Health Innovation Lab ( and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. She attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree, University of Chicago for Medical School, and the University of Pennsylvania for an MSHP and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. She serves on several leadership committees within the American Heart Association and is the chair of the Emergency Cardiovascular Care-Science Subcommittee. Her research interest is in diffusion of innovation, social media, public health, and resuscitation science. Her work involves development and testing of health related mobile apps and she has conducted several projects evaluating health communication on social/mobile media sites like Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Gigwalk, and others. She additionally runs a Twitter lab which analyzes tweets related to resuscitation, critical care, and public health/policy. Much of her work bridges new technologies in the field of cardiovascular health. In this context, she is the Director of the MyHeartMap Challenge, (  a social media and crowdsourcing project aimed at improving AED access and awareness by engaging the public to serve as citizen scientist. Dr. Merchant was recently recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of 10 young investigators likely to have a significant impact on the future of health and healthcare in the US.

Marilyn Schapira, M.D.

Marilyn Schapira, M.D. (Associate Director) VA Liaison

Dr. Schapira is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Health Equity Research Program (CHERP) at Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Her research has focused in the area of health literacy, health numeracy, patient-physician communication and medical decision making. Methods used include mixed methods approaches, preference elicitation with utility assessments and conjoint analysis, and the development and evaluation of shared decision making interventions. Dr. Schapira also has expertise in psychometrics and measurement of health numeracy and patient reported outcomes.   She has developed and evaluated decision aids for prostate cancer screening and treatment and post-menopausal hormone therapy and is currently funded by the VA HSR&D program to develop decision support for Veterans considering lung cancer screening. As part of her focus on health literacy, Dr. Schapira has developed a theoretical framework for health numeracy and a cross-culturally equivalent measure of health numeracy using item response theory called the Numeracy Understanding in Medicine Instrument (NUMi). The NUMi is being translated into Spanish and a  computer adaptive version created in work supported by the American Cancer Society.  Dr. Schapira is part of the NCI funded PROSPR network (Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens) where she leads a project to develop, implement, and evaluate the efficacy of a web-based decision aid for women aged 40-49 that are considering options for breast cancer screening.  Dr. Schapira co-leads the Cancer Control research program of the Abramson Cancer Center and the Health Policy Research track of the Masters of Science in Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Traci Chupik, M.S. Ed.

Traci Chupik, M.S. Ed.

Traci Chupik, M.S. Ed. is the Administrative Director for the RWJF Clinical Scholars program and the Masters of Science in Health Policy Research program. Before joining the RWJF team, she worked in higher education administration and program management, both in Penn’s Department of Psychiatry and Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies.

Suzanne Mosko, MA

Suzanne Mosko, MA, is the Administrative Coordinator for the Penn Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program and the Masters of Science in Health Policy Research (MSHP) program. Before coming to the University of Pennsylvania, Suzanne worked in administration and development for The American School of Classical Studies at Athens and Thomas Jefferson University. Suzanne has her BA in Classical Civilizations from Temple University and her MA in Education from LaSalle University.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
David A Asch, MD, MBA, Director
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program
University of Pennsylvania
13th Floor, Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Alternate E-mail:

About the Program Program Sites The Scholars Clinical Scholars Directory Contact Us

Copyright 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation