Author Archives: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Progress, Hope, and Commitment

Feb 28, 2014, 10:55 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

Nearly seven years ago, this Foundation made a major commitment to reversing the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. We had many reasons, but chief among them was the decades of data showing more and more young people in America facing greater challenges to growing up healthy. We, and many others, knew it was an unsustainable path. So we pledged $500 million to reverse the trend, and joined forces with a wide range of partners to address the many different facets that an effort of this magnitude would require. Big challenges require big commitments.

This week has been one of the most exciting in the last seven years. Research published Tuesday shows a major decline in the obesity rate among children ages 2 to 5 over the last eight years. This is a very real sign of progress, because we know that preventing obesity at an early age is likely to help children maintain a healthy weight into adulthood. The significant decline measured by researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follows progress we’ve started to see over the last 18 months.

View Full Post

We Are All in This Together

Feb 11, 2014, 4:41 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

presidents_message_billboard_v0.1

Building a culture of health means recognizing that while Americans’ economic, geographic, or social circumstances may differ, we all aspire to lead the best lives that we can.

For the Foundation, it also means working hand-in-hand with all Americans to inform the dialogue and build demand for health by pursuing new partnerships, create new networks to build momentum, and stand on the shoulders of others striving to make America a healthier nation.

Learn more in our President’s Message
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

 

The Future of Nursing: A Look Back at the Landmark IOM Report

Oct 4, 2013, 2:00 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH

By Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president of the Institute of Medicine, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This commentary originally appeared on the Institute of Medicine website.

Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, made possible by the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In light of the tremendous need for nurses in health care today and in the future—due to the growing numbers of people with chronic diseases, an aging population, and the need for care coordination—the report provided a blueprint for how to transform the nursing profession.

Recommendations put forth by the report committee included removing barriers to practice and care, expanding opportunities for nurses to serve as leaders, and increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.

View Full Post

A Giant Step Toward a Culture of Health

Oct 1, 2013, 12:15 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

More than 48 million Americans live without health insurance coverage. They are people we all know. They are our neighbors, friends, and family members. Some of them have been my patients. For years, they’ve been forced to make tough choices between getting the medical care they need and paying the rent. They’ve gone without preventive care, missed annual check ups, and skipped medications.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been working to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, stable health insurance coverage. Now, thanks to the work of so many committed organizations and individuals, we have an opportunity to come closer than ever to achieving this goal.

View Full Post

ABCs of the ACA: Bill and Barack Explain it all for You

Sep 27, 2013, 11:21 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH

RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey took part in a panel discussion at Tuesday's Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, and that was quite an honor. But, she writes in a recent blog post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn, the highlight of the day was what happened after the panel discussion: a presentation by presidents No. 42 and 44—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The two leaders delivered a clear explanation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and its implications for the future of the country.

And what they explained, Lavizzo-Mourey adds, was incredibly helpful, as the two presidents cut through all the background noise surrounding this clearly polarizing issue.

Health care spending is a drag on the economy, and the two presidents drove home that point. All of that spending has a measurable impact on everyday economic life, Lavizzo-Mourey says, affecting even the cost of a new car. For every new car built by America's iconic auto makers, Ford and General Motors, she writes, you can add to the price tag $2,000 in hidden health care costs. Lavizzo-Mourey concludes: "It is critical for our nation's future economic wellbeing that we fix health care."

The law in its current incarnation probably isn't perfect, Lavizzo-Mourey admits, but it's here, and we'll learn how to make it better. "The ACA is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in a generation," Lavizzo-Mourey writes, "and if history is a guide we know the law will be further refined and improved once its impact can be discerned."

That said, she adds: "I’m looking forward to going back to the Clinton Global Initiative a few years from now to talk about the good we can do for people with the money we once spent on health care."

PBS NewsHour videotaped the exchange. It's available below. Lavizzo-Mourey recommends you watch it. And you can read the transcript here on Politico.

President Obama and President Clinton Talk Health Care Reform

Childhood Obesity Is Everybody's Problem

Aug 9, 2013, 9:59 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Why? Because, aside from the deleterious impact on the health of kids individually, childhood obesity can have an adverse effect on “our economy, our health care system, and our future,” writes RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in a new blog post on the professional social networking site, LinkedIn.

So what can you do? Quite a bit, Lavizzo-Mourey concludes.

The rate of childhood obesity has been soaring for more than three decades. That has been cause for deep distress, and still is. All the same, she writes, there is new reason for hope, and it is to be found in the findings of an August 6 report by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The report suggests that, for the first time, obesity rates dropped in 18 states and one U.S. territory in recent years for low-income children ages 2 to 4.

The report, while not cause for complacency, suggests that—although childhood obesity is still a major health concern—there are steps we can take to arrest and reverse the epidemic.

“The diverse group of states and communities with declines have instituted a wide range of programs to help families make healthy choices where they live, learn, play, and work—programs that can be adapted and scaled up by other regions,” Lavizzo-Mourey asserts. “All of these communities have one important thing in common—they have made childhood obesity prevention a priority.”

In 2007, the Foundation pledged $500 million to meet a goal of reversing the epidemic by 2015. “We know we can do it,” Lavizzo-Mourey writes, “but we can’t do it alone.”

Climb Every Mountain

Jun 25, 2013, 1:48 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

As vacation time begins, RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, recalls the trip of a lifetime: her exhausting yet thrilling trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in summer 2011.

Writing on LinkedIn as part of its Influencer Summer Guide, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey relives the experience, made all the more memorable because she was accompanied by her daughter Rel:

"Each day, the air was thinner, the grade sharper, the camps rougher, the fatigue more severe. Finally, in parkas, gaiters, and high-tech hand gear, out-climbing clouds and glaciers and even some of our fellow trekkers, we crested the rocky summit. More moonscape than landscape, it was lonely, beautiful, terrifying, and spectacular. Someone said it was like “wing-walking on a 747.”

Most of us won't hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro this summer, but Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey says there is a lesson to be learned from her ascent to the so-called "roof of Africa." It's simply this: Climb a metaphorical mountain. Take on a challenge once in a while. Force yourself to venture outside your comfort zone. Look at the world from a different perspective. After all, she writes: "Such a challenge can be done in many ways and places, not just at the top of a mountain."

You can read the full blog post here

Control Health Data, Don't Drown in It

Jun 6, 2013, 7:26 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Data: It's a flood, and we run the danger of drowning in it. Even more unsettling, says RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, "a good portion of that flood of information is about our health, yet we have few tools to control or even decipher this most personal of data."

Writing in her latest post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey suggests that all of that data should be helping us—we just need to get a handle on it.

RWJF has focused on just that goal, having funded development of tools and technologies to manage medical information since the mid-2000s, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes. Our latest initiative is a $120,000 contest to encourage technology developers to create the best way to help consumers make sense of a huge database of hospital prices published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey concludes:

I believe such information management projects can be as or more transformative for an individual’s well-being than a new drug or surgical technique. Hopefully, their advent means we are entering an era of high tech tools where big data, far from drowning us, will help us manage our health in ways we never could before."

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers.

Rebuilding Health Communities After Disaster

May 28, 2013, 4:30 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD

It is a testament to the American spirit that less than a day after a tornado brought a 20-mile-wide swath of death and destruction to Moore, OK, public officials and residents unequivocally pledged to rebuild the community. “We will rebuild and we will regain our strength,” Gov. Mary Fallin told a news conference after viewing the devastation. Similar assertions were made after Hurricane Sandy wiped out entire neighborhoods on the New York and New Jersey coasts eight months ago, and will surely be made again and again after future natural disasters.

I applaud the can-do determination. But I also suggest that we take a minute and think, not just about rebuilding, but creating something better. Why not rebuild communities where health and wellness is a top priority?

That's according to RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in her latest post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers writing for the site.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes:

Imagine rebuilding neighborhoods that make healthy living an easy and fun choice, that offer more places to safely walk or bike, more open spaces where families can exercise and play, and more restaurants that offer healthy choices and provide nutritional information on their menus.

To learn how New Orleans successfully rebuilt a healthier environment after Hurricane Katrina read the rest of the LinkedIn post here

Why Employers Should Take a Healthy Interest in Employee Wellness

May 16, 2013, 11:18 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Employers finance the largest share of the nation’s health care costs. If they want to hold down medical spending—and reap the other benefits associated with better employee health, such as reduced absenteeism—then investing in wellness is one of the smartest business decisions companies can make.

That's according to RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in her inaugural post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes:

Cold, hard data on the success, or failure, of a wellness program, derived from credible and transparent measurements will not only increase staff morale and quantify the value of their personal investment, it will also generate a trove of information that can and should be used by employers to extract reduced insurance rates."