The Difference Between Seeing and Looking
Seeing is believing, right? Yet, creative social scientist and physician, Anupam B. Jena, argues that seeing is not the same thing as looking. We are surrounded by chance occurrences that affect our everyday lives and health in ways that go unnoticed unless someone goes looking for them.
Anupam’s research has shown that these chance events, what economists call natural experiments, are not only powerful enough to shape our mortality but can teach us how to make our health care, and health, better.
Anupam’s research has touched on some of the decade’s most creative findings in social science and medicine. Why do cities have more fatalities on marathon days? Are kids born in August more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD? Do people drive faster after a Fast and Furious movie comes out? And why do patients do better when cardiologists are out of town attending national scientific conferences?
By asking creative, engaging, and important questions about health, science, and economics on a broad scale, Anupam brings nature’s experiments into plain sight.
Dr. Jena is an economist, physician, and professor at Harvard. As one of a small group of physician-economists in the world, and one of the most creative and prolific social scientists in medicine, Dr. Jena is uniquely positioned to explore where the worlds of medicine and economics collide, based on his experiences as a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and his unique training as an economist.
His creative use of natural experiments – chance occurrences that we are exposed to, but often unaware of, in our lives – help us understand how health care works, the subject of his 2020 TEDMED talk. He is the host of the popular Freakonomics, M.D. podcast, where he tackles questions at the intersection of medicine and economics, including questions from his own research on why mortality rates rise in cities on the days that they host large marathons, why cardiac patients do better when cardiologists are out of town at national cardiology conferences, and why kids with summer birthdays are more likely to be diagnosed with A.D.H.D.
Dr. Jena’s work is frequently featured in the media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.