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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

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Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD

Picture of Rachel M. Werner

CHERP Core Investigator

  • Staff Physician, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC)
  • Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Robert D. Eilers Professor of Health Care Management and Economics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Co-Director, Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA), University of Pennsylvania


Rachel Werner, MD, PhD, CHERP Core Investigator and VA physician at Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC) in Philadelphia, is also Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. She is Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine as well as the Robert D. Eilers Professor of Health Care Management and Economics at the Wharton School.

Dr. Werner is Co-Principal Investigator of the five-year, $5 million VA HSR QUERI initiative, SAGE (Safer Aging through Geriatrics-informed Evidence-based practices). The SAGE initiative is designed to improve clinical outcomes for older Veterans and to provide interventions and innovations to help them age safely at home. All VISN 4 medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics are included, and the implementation of the SAGE practices will be modified based on the needs of the patient population at each facility. She was also Co-Director of the VISN 4 Center to Improve Patient Aligned Care Teams (CEPACT) for 10 years, seeking to improve patient-centered care and reduce disparities in care delivered by PACT.

In addition, Dr. Werner's research examines the effects of health care payment policies on health care delivery, using methods designed to draw causal inference from observational data. She has investigated the unintended consequences of provider financial incentives and was among the first to recognize that public reporting of quality information may worsen racial disparities.

Her research has been published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, including NEJM, JAMA, and Health Affairs. Beyond publication, Dr. Werner has influenced research and policy as a member of numerous advisory committees to the state and federal government as well as research foundations. 

Dr. Werner has received numerous awards for her work, including the Alice Hersh New Investigator Award from AcademyHealth, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the American Federation of Medical Research (AFMR) Outstanding Investigator Award. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

She received her undergraduate degree from Macalester College, and her medical degree and doctoral degree in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Areas
Provider Payment
Financial Incentives
Quality Improvement Incentives

2018, Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine
2013, Outstanding Investigator Award, American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR)
2010, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
2009, Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award, AcademyHealth