News Release
Raina Merchant, MD, MS

PHILADELPHIA – The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) selected Penn Medicine’s Raina Merchant, MD, MS, as a member of its newest class of Emerging Leaders of Health and Medicine Scholars. Merchant is the director of the Penn Center for Digital Health and an associate professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She will be one of only 10 selected to join this new class, beginning July 1, 2019 and serving through June 30, 2022.

“I am honored to join the esteemed group of scholars in the NAM Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine,” Merchant said. “This is an incredible opportunity for mentorship and collaboration that will certainly advance my scholarship and ability to have meaningful impact in health and healthcare. I am enthusiastic about using the skills learned through this experience to apply toward advancing scholarship at Penn and in the communities where I work and serve.”

The NAM Emerging Leaders of Health and Medicine was established in 2016 for early and mid-career professionals who work in health care, health policy, and similar fields. They participate in mentorship opportunities, exchange ideas and collaborate across multiple sectors and fields, and work to better shape NAM’s path forward in improving health in the United States.

“These extraordinary individuals represent the next generation of leading scientists, health care providers, public health professionals, and policymakers, who are poised to shape the future of science, medicine, and health equity,” NAM president Victor J. Dzau said of Merchant and her fellow Emerging Leaders. “I welcome these exceptional professionals into our network of young leaders and look forward to their valuable input to accelerate innovative and cross-disciplinary activities addressing some of the most pressing challenges in health and medicine.”

Merchant will join Penn Medicine’s Mark Neuman, MD, an associate professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, in the Emerging Scholars program. Merchant’s work focuses on the intersection of the internet, digital media and health, for which she founded the Center for Digital Health within Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation. Much of Merchant’s work focuses on the evaluation of health behaviors through lenses such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and search engines. Recently, she helped lead a team that discovered depression could be predicted as many as three months before it was diagnosed through the evaluation of language in Facebook posts.

Additionally, one of Merchant’s passions has been the marriage of new technology and heart health, leading to her directorship of the “MyHeartMap Challenge,” which used social media and crowdsourcing to provide an online map of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across Philadelphia.

Merchant joined Penn Medicine in 2007 after completing her residency and a fellowship at the University of Chicago. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Yale University, Medical Degree from University of Chicago, and her Masters of Science in Health Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Merchant has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in highly journals including NEJM, JAMA and Health Affairs. She is an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow and was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the 10 young investigators most likely to have a significant impact on the future of health and health care in the United States.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.

The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, 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 an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.

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