Now Viewing: Disruptive innovations

Pioneering Ideas Podcast: Episode 3

Mar 11, 2014, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Welcome to the third episode of our podcast, where we explore cutting edge ideas and emerging trends that can transform health and health care. Your host is Lori Melichar, a senior program officer at the foundation and Pioneer team director.

Ideas in this Episode

  • The science of choosing – From TV shows to health plans, Americans have more options than ever before – and we like it. But do we really? What does our relationship with choice mean for our health, and for the health care system as a whole?
  • The radical power of empathy – What happens when a health care provider actually stops and listens to a patient? How does empathy fuel innovation?
  • The next generation of health care innovators – We hear from two students at Princeton University who are studying how to apply social entrepreneurship to address global health challenges.

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We Need to Be the Change We Wish to See

Dec 17, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Lori Melichar

Lori Melichar, senior program officer Lori Melichar, senior program officer

Those of us working to achieve a culture of health in this country need to practice the healthy habits we preach.

In Danielle Ofri’s recent New York Times op-ed, Why Doctors Don’t Take Sick Days, she describes a problem that’s persisted for ages, but that no one has created systems to solve: doctors refusing to call in sick. “From day one in medical training,” she writes, “the unspoken message is that calling in sick is for wimps.”

Her message hit home. Despite working for the country’s largest health foundation, I’m also guilty of coming to work sick, and of sending my kids to daycare sick, on days when I feel it would be disruptive to reschedule a day’s worth of meetings. 

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Pioneering Ideas Podcast: Episode 2

Dec 11, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team


Welcome to episode two of our podcast. This time we kick things off with our new Mailbag segment, in which Senior Program Officer Paul Tarini answers questions from listeners (time stamp: 1:12). Next, in a conversation with Assistant Vice President of Research and Evaluation and former Pioneer Team Director Brian Quinn, social scientist, innovator, teacher and recent What’s Next Health guest BJ Fogg talks about the need to help people understand how behavior works so they can be more effective in changing their own behavior (4:34). Then we listen in on RWJF’s first-ever Pitch Day, emceed by the Foundation’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Thomas Goetz, and featuring judges like angel investor Esther Dyson and NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam (8:10). Finally, Senior Program Officer and physician Mike Painter shares a personal story and a plea for getting the human motivators right in health care (16:11). This episode is hosted by program associate (and former TV broadcaster) Christine Nieves.

We hope you enjoy listening, and we hope you learn something; we certainly did. And there’s more to learn: Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below, as well as any questions that you’d like us to answer in a future episode.

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Trying Something New: Pioneer Pitch Day

Oct 22, 2013, 10:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Pioneer Pitch Day judges Emcee Thomas Goetz and Pioneer Pitch Day judges Lori Melichar, John Lumpkin, Paul Tarini, Mike Painter, Nancy Barrand, Shankar Vedantam, Ben Sawyer, Fred Mann, Rodrigo Martinez, Esther Dyson, Ben Heywood, John Maeda and Steve Downs. Deborah Bae and Ben Schiller not pictured.

The Pioneer team is always on the lookout for new thinking about how to transform health and health care – not just from visionaries in these fields, but also from big thinkers in other disciplines.

Discovering big ideas from diverse sources was the idea behind Pioneer Pitch Day, an event we hosted last week at the offices of AppNexus, a tech startup in New York City. Eight finalists (culled from more than 500 applicants) had five minutes each to share their vision, then answered five minutes of questions from a panel of judges, as well as audience questions. The judges included designers, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists and others, in addition to foundation staff. Our entrepreneur-in-residence, Thomas Goetz, was the master of ceremonies.

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Introducing the Pitch Day Finalists: Medical Innovation By the People and For the People

Oct 14, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Alex Fair, co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc. Alex Fair, co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc.

Entrepreneur Alex Fair has a vision for letting citizens decide which health care innovations the government should fund. He was one of eight finalists invited to pitch their ideas live and in person at the first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day. Read Fair's 1,000-character proposal below, and join the discussion on Twitter at #pioneerpitch.

Alex Fair is the co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc. and an organizer of Health 2.0 NYC. You can follow him on Twitter at @alexbfair. Alex will co-present with Jeff Borenstein of MedStartr, Inc.

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