A Foundation's Innovative Grant Program Supports Unconventional Health-Care Solutions

The Pioneer Portfolio is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) innovation arm, committed to harnessing the pipeline of emerging ideas to serve the social good. Since 2004, Pioneer has awarded more than $120 million in grants to explore and promote unconventional solutions to tough problems in health and health care. This article provides an overview of the Pioneer Portfolio, its aims, and its work.

Highlights from the Pioneer Portfolio:

  • Project ECHO uses online videoconferencing to link primary care health teams in rural areas to specialists in an effort to treat complex conditions.
  • OpenNotes made doctors' notes available to an experiment including 19,000 patients to explore whether access to these notes affected their involvement in their care. As a result, more patients said they were more likely to take their medicines as prescribed.
  • Health Games Research explores whether digital games that carry health lessons actually change behavior.

Brian Quinn, Pioneer Portfolio team director, notes that Pioneer Portfolio projects are marked by their ability to affect transformational change. They work to identify and explore new issues and approaches; accelerate progress on issues and approaches that have significant potential to create breakthroughs in health and health care; and support projects that use original, unconventional, or cross-sectoral approaches to create transformative change. RWJF’s Pioneer Portfolio works to address the big problems facing health care, and to do so with big solutions.


Our Eyes on the Future of Health and Health Care

Pioneer team members discuss the types of projects Pioneer supports and the ideas that may have the potential to transform health and health care.

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