About Dr. Levy

Mongan-Levy

Doug Levy, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Mongan Institute Health Policy Center

Bio
Dr. Levy’s primary area of research is studying how policies in the spheres of public health, healthcare finance, and health services can improve primary and higher order prevention to improve population health. The principal applications of this overall research agenda fall into two main categories: the study of policies to reduce the harms of tobacco use and how human decision-making and behavioral economics interact in the context of healthy (or unhealthy) food choice. He also collaborates widely on studies using cost-effectiveness methods to help prioritize resource use and understand competing incentives to adopt alternative policies. His work has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.

Dr. Levy’s research on tobacco has encompassed a number of avenues of inquiry. He has investigated the economics determinants and consequences of tobacco use, including the effect of cigarette price changes on smoking prevalence among pregnant women, the cost to employers of covering smoking cessation treatments, and national healthcare costs under alternative tobacco control scenarios. In addition to the economics of tobacco control, he has investigated clinical and epidemiological aspects of tobacco use and treatment, including the use of nicotine replacement therapy by smokers who are not trying to quit, the natural history of light and intermittent smoking, determinants of smoking cessation advice receipt among hospitalized smokers, and the cost-effectiveness of clinical strategies for reducing tobacco use. A major current focus of his tobacco research is studying the effects of smoke-free policies in public housing on involuntary tobacco smoke exposure, resident health, and resident health care expenditures.

On the topic of food choice, he has collaborated on a series of studies investigating how “nudges” such as conveying nutrition information through color coding, altering food accessibility through choice architecture, providing individualized purchasing feedback, and using financial incentives affect people’s food purchasing behavior. He is also leading research investigating how social context and social networks affect people’s food choices.

Current Projects
National Institutes of Health
Health Outcomes and Health Care Spending Among Residents Of Smoke Free Public Housing
Goal:  To evaluate a series of natural experiments arising from the staggered introduction of smoke-free policies in ≥27% of the state’s 241 public housing authorities.
Role:  Principal Investigator

National Institutes of Health
Worksite Social Connections and Food Choice:  Identifying Opportunities for Obesity Prevention
Goal:  To examine the interaction of social connections and purchasing environments on workplace healthy food purchase behavior.
Role:  Principal Investigator

Publications
Dr. Levy on PubMed

Education
AB, Amherst College
MPH, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
PhD, Health Policy, Harvard University