Random Acts of Medicine

Health care is advancing rapidly. To us, one of the most exciting developments has been an explosion in the amount of data that is generated by doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies—billions of data points about millions of patients. By looking at the data in creative, unexpected ways, we can answer all kinds of questions—including questions that can’t be answered using traditional means.

Who We Are

We’re both practicing physicians and research collaborators at Harvard Medical School. Bapu is one of only a handful of formally trained economist-physicians in the world; Chris is a pulmonologist, critical care doctor, and public health researcher. In our research, we’re always looking for new ways to use the data to answer questions that have gone previously unanswered.

Anupam (Bapu) Jena, MD, PhD and Christopher Worsham, MD, MPH

Our Book

In our book, Random Acts of Medicine, we explore research by us by others that uses natural experiments—chance events where people are randomly sent down different paths without the intervention of a researcher’s manipulating hand—to answer pressing questions about our health. Here’s what some of our favorite authors had to say about the book:

Random Acts of Medicine is my favorite kind of book: smart, entertaining, and full of surprises. The field of medicine has been slow to appreciate the immense power of natural experiments. Jena and Worsham are on a crusade to change that. Read this book, and you’ll be a believer.”
Steven D. Levitt, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Freakonomics

“It is a rare book that manages to be both fantastically entertaining and deeply thought-provoking. This is such a book.”
Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of The Family Firm, Cribsheet, and Expecting Better and author of the ParentData Substack

“What a brilliant book! Random Acts of Medicine is science, but it is much more than that. It offers a set of profound lessons about learning, life, and health.”
 —Cass R. Sunstein, New York Times bestselling co-author of Nudge and Noise

Our Goals for This Publication

One of the most interesting parts of research and the science you read about in the news, is the creative spark—the idea—that drove someone to ask the question that they did. Our goal with this platform is to explore some of the most interesting ideas in medicine and economics, including many that didn't make it into the book and the new ones we come across.

We want to share them in a way that’s approachable to anyone—regardless of your training or background—since the best ideas are often the most intuitive. Perhaps most importantly, we want to talk about these ideas with a community of interested people who also find them fascinating. 

If you’re someone whose mental gears start turning at the thought of using data creatively to study our health, this publication is for you. We’ll be sharing posts, answering and asking questions, and contributing to the discussions that emerge.

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Exploring data in surprising and creative ways to uncover the hidden forces that shape our health, with physician-economist Bapu Jena and critical care physician and researcher Chris Worsham


Christopher M. Worsham, M.D., M.P.H. is a pulmonary & critical care physician, and research faculty at Mass General Hospital & Harvard; co-author "Random Acts of Medicine"
Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, is an economist, physician, and the Joseph P. Newhouse Professor at Harvard at Medical School; host of the Freakonomics, M.D. podcast; and co-author of Random Acts of Medicine.