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Penn Doctor Named Semifinalist in Philadelphia Magazine’s Health Hero Challenge

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn, senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and director of the Penn Social Media and Health Innovation Lab, has been named one of 16 semifinalists in Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well Philly 2014 Health Hero Challenge!

IMG_6739She was selected by editors at Philadelphia Magazine based on a nomination about her incredible contributions to helping keep the Philadelphia region happy and healthy. Wondering what makes her a great choice? Here’s a peek into her work…

Dr. Merchant’s research focuses on preventing potentially avoidable deaths from cardiac arrest and improving the impact of resuscitation therapies. Her cutting-edge studies explore the ways in which new communication channels can enhance our ability to understand and improve the health and health care of patients and the general population.

In 2012, Dr. Merchant was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the top ten most promising health care leaders in the nation under the age of 40. That same year, she launched the MyHeartMap Challenge, a crowdsourcing, mobile and social media challenge that engaged the public to geo-locate Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Philadelphia. Through the MyHeartMap Challenge, more than 1,500 AEDs were identified and the most comprehensive AED map in Philadelphia was created.

This year, Dr. Merchant decided to engage the public by challenging them to submit designs for eye-catching artwork to help easily identify AEDs. The Defibrillator Design Challenge aimed to increase awareness for AEDs and educate the public about the lifesaving devices through art. More than 115 designs were submitted from individuals across the country, and five winners were chosen in April. Dr. Merchant and the Social Media and Health Innovation Lab team are now working to determine which pieces will become actual public installations in Philadelphia.  

Now that you’re sold on her impressive contributions to health and health care in Philly, it’s time to help Dr. Merchant advance to the next level of the Health Hero Challenge!  During the week of October 21st through 27th, you can vote for her once every 24 hours on the Be Well Philly Facebook page. The top four semifinalists will then move on to the final round, after which one will be named the 2014 Health Hero.

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