Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality Supports Recruitment of Three New Faculty Members

Axilrod with fellows

Richard A. Axilrod, WG’85, and Nancy M. Axilrod, parents, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality. The fund has enabled Penn Arts and Sciences to recruit three new faculty members who will help establish Penn as a worldwide center for the analysis of inequality and health, with a specific focus on the distribution of health outcomes and how this distribution is shaped by social policies.

“Social disparities in health are pervasive,” says Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of Penn Arts and Sciences and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “With their generous gift, Richard and Nancy are supporting the rigorous interdisciplinary research needed to understand the causes and consequences of these disparities and to develop policy interventions aimed at reducing them.”

The three new Axilrod Fellows recruited by the School are Juan Pablo Atal, Assistant Professor of Economics; Courtney Boen, Assistant Professor of Sociology; and Morgan Hoke, Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Atal studies public economics and industrial organization, with a focus on health economics, while Boen documents how racial discrimination and contact with the criminal justice system, among other factors, contribute to racial disparities in biomarkers of health and aging. Hoke is a biocultural anthropologist who examines the economic, cultural, and ecological influences on infant feeding practices and how those practices perpetuate economic and social inequalities. 

“Social and health inequalities are a complex, urgent problem, and the liberal arts are an incredibly powerful tool,” says Richard Axilrod. “These new faculty members are poised to make a substantive difference in their fields and our communities. Nancy and I are thrilled to support this effort.”

Richard Axilrod is the Managing Director of Moore Capital Management, L.P., a New York City-based hedge fund. He is on the Board of Directors of the Waterside School, a K–5 school in Stamford, Conn., for underprivileged students. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn.

The Axilrods have previously established two scholarships for students in the College of Arts and Sciences: the Richard and Nancy Axilrod Endowed Scholarship and the Stephen and Katherine Axilrod Endowed Scholarship. The Stephen and Katherine Axilrod Endowed Scholarship was named in honor of his parents.

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