Davene R. Wright, PhD

Associate Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard

Decision Scientist and Child Health Care Researcher

Career Development Mentor


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Medicine, a research and academic partnership between the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. There, I am the Associate Director of the Division of Child Health Research and Policy

I am a decision scientist, interested in the study of how stakeholders make decisions and how they can make better decisions in the presence of uncertainty, complexity, and competing values. The overarching goal of my research is to improve the demand for and supply of effective and efficient health care for patients with chronic diseases with a focus on obesity and diabetes. I specialize in leading interdisciplinary studies that link a variety of decision sciences methods and related techniques including stated preference elicitation, economic evaluation, simulation modeling, health services research methods, and qualitative research. I am committed to using my methodological toolkit to design health care interventions and policies that will have high uptake and high potential to improve population health. 

Sample research questions I seek to answer


You can view my published research at PubMed or Google Scholar. If you are outside of an academic institution and want to access a particular paper, please contact me directly.

Mentoring and service

My research is enhanced by my effort devoted to teaching and mentoring trainees and junior faculty. I offer career development workshops for early career researchers. Moreover, I engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion activities nationally and locally to improve the recruitment and retention of academic scholars from underrepresented backgrounds.


Different sides of the same coin: measuring trade-offs between clustered and monthly health insurance payments  

(with Michal Horný) 

HERU Aberdeen

Teens just wanna have funds: Developing a financial incentives intervention for adolescents with type 1 diabetes 

University of Michigan

Decision to Initiate Lifestyle Changes for Childhood Obesity (DIsCCO): Shining a light on opportunities for health interventions 

(with Tom Chen) 

Panel Study of Income Dynamics User Conference


Finding out what people really, really want 

University of Wisconsin

Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Exploring optimism bias in parent predictions about a child’s future health and socioeconomic expectations 

Tufts University Medical Center

Parent-Perceived Important Topics for Childhood Obesity (PPITCH): Hitting the right note for effective health risk communication 

Massachusetts General Hospital