Raina Merchant

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, FAHA

PHILADELPHIA Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, FAHA, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate vice president for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, has been appointed to the editorial board for JAMA, the most widely circulated and one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. Merchant assumed her new role in January 2018.

Editorial board members are appointed to their roles for 3-year terms, during which time Merchant will serve as an advisor to the Editor in Chief, act as an ambassador for JAMA in her clinical and academic communities, and contribute to the editorial content of the publication through editorials, viewpoints, and other articles.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected for this position,” said Merchant, whose research focuses on public health, resuscitation science, and the role of digital media in improving health. “I have deep admiration and respect for JAMA and am excited by the opportunity to improve patient health by being part of a team responsible for stewardship of one of the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals.”

In addition to her emergency medicine clinical and teaching responsibilities, Merchant is the director of Penn Medicine’s Center for Digital Health, which is focused on the role of digital health technology in care delivery and patient engagement in disease prevention and care. The Center also serves as an incubator for supporting, evaluating, and increasing awareness of digital health-based tools for caregivers and patients at Penn Medicine. Recent work at the Center includes assessing online reviews for information about patients’ experiences in hospitals and pairing Facebook information with patients’ electronic medical records to generate insights about individual and population health. In the online-review study, she and her team found that the federal government’s hospital-patient satisfaction reports did not include twelve categories of common patient concerns present on Yelp. The missing categories, including “compassion of staff,” “quality of nursing” and “billing department interactions,” could provide a more complete view of overall hospital quality. Current areas of research include tracing language changes on social media that may be associated with Alzheimer’s and other types of cognitive decline and identifying factors linked to depression and obesity.

In 2012 Merchant led the MyHeartMap Challenge, a crowd-sourcing competition in which Philadelphians identified, photographed, and submitted locations of automated external defibrillators citywide. Using the information gathered, she and her team developed a mobile app that maps the devices throughout the city, enabling citizens to help save lives when cardiac arrest strikes.

Merchant earned her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Yale University and completed medical school and residency in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago. She came to Penn as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, joining the faculty in the department of Emergency Medicine in 2010. She has also served as a policy scientist for the assistant secretary of preparedness and response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Her honors and recognition include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leader Award, American Heart Association Young Investigator Award for the Best of the Best Original Abstracts, and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. She was also selected as one of the top ten national leaders in health care under the age of 40 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has been named as one of the city’s top doctors under 40 by Philadelphia magazine.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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