Sep 23, 2014, 1:54 PM, Posted by
I am thrilled to begin my job as the entrepreneur in residence (EIR) at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
You might think that the EIR role is traditionally associated with venture capital firms, not foundations. But scratch the surface and you’ll find commonalities between the two industries. Both VCs and philanthropists have daring ambitions, place lots of bets, and hope for a big pay-off every once in a while. The difference is that a philanthropy like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation places a priority on societal dividends, such as greater access to health care or a reduction in childhood obesity.
I also like this definition of entrepreneurship: “The pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” That fits the Foundation to a T as we pursue the audacious goal of building a Culture of Health in the United States.
But how will we measure success? How will we know if our bets ever pay off, especially when we are talking about culture change? I have a story to tell that I think illustrates how a small grant can make a big difference in the world.
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Apr 21, 2014, 12:30 AM, Posted by
Last month, I attended my first TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. Though inspiring, it was also overwhelming—in a sea of over 1200 guests, it can often be challenging to make meaningful personal connections. However, when I saw Adrianne Haslet-Davis step onto the stage and dance a beautiful rumba while wearing her prosthetic leg, I knew she was someone I wanted to meet.
While Adrianne and I had just a quick exchange of hellos in person at TED, I was further inspired by the message she wrote when she stopped by our RWJF Culture of Health Café. There she offered her own vision of a Culture of Health, framed within her personal experiences as a victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Adrianne graciously offered to expand on her personal Culture of Health vision in a brief interview with me.
Shaheen: You recently returned from TED2014 in Vancouver, where you gave a powerful dance performance. Tell us about that experience.
Adrianne: It was no question at all where I wanted to dance [publicly] again for the first time. It was important for me to do it at TED because I so strongly believe in TED’s message of getting people to think outside the box about issues that maybe we don’t know we’re interested in. I think it’s really eye-opening in that way.
I went into the project with Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab, who came to me and said “Adrianne, I think we can make this [performance] happen but I’m not going to guarantee it. Are you in?” I said yes because it really helped me have a goal.
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Mar 24, 2014, 2:03 PM, Posted by
I've worked at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for almost 15 years, and it’s still thrilling (and a little intimidating), working with some of the world's leading experts, thinkers, and innovators, not to mention colleagues who are brilliant, passionate, and kind. While I’ve never admitted this before, as a long-time fan of television medical dramas the people from clinical backgrounds, the “white coats,” especially fascinate me. The doctors, nurses and other health professionals I work with seem part of some mysterious club, survivors of years of arduous training who have the ability to improve peoples' lives in a way I simply can't.
But it turns out that I am an expert, something I learned from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative called Flip the Clinic. Flip the Clinic aims, quite simply, to help patients and their doctors (or other providers) get more out of the medical encounter: that all-too-short office visit that leaves both parties wishing for more time, more information, more of a relationship. You can learn more about the history of Flip the Clinic, including its intriguing name, here.
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Mar 3, 2014, 5:34 PM, Posted by
“I am stressed.”
“I am feeling pressured.”
“I have been through all this before.”
“Why is it taking so long?”
If you’ve ever had any of these feelings while biding your time in a doctor’s office, you’re not alone. There are a myriad ways in which the classic physician visit can often be sub-optimal: Spending a long time in a waiting room before a too-short doctor’s visit; barely understanding or absorbing what the physician says before he or she rushes off to see the next patient.
The experience could try the patience of the most self-confident of patients—and positively overwhelm the more nervous among us. Small wonder that some patients experience “white coat syndrome,” or elevated blood pressure during a clinical encounter. It’s believed to be brought on by some combination of apprehension about a potential disease or diagnosis, or even intimidation at the sight of the doctor in a white coat.
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Sep 25, 2013, 5:13 PM, Posted by
How do you turn an idea into something bigger? It's necessary, but not sufficient, to start with a good idea, of course. But it also takes a community of supporters—people willing to step out of their busy day-to-day, and contribute time and brainpower to turning that idea into something closer to reality.
That was the goal of the first Flip the Clinic workshop, held in mid-September at the Foundation’s headquarters in Princeton, N.J. We invited 15 amazing thinkers and doers from various perspectives—doctors, nurses, patients, policymakers, entrepreneurs—and asked them to spend a full day (and then some) helping us turn the Flip the Clinic idea into something substantial, or at least substantiated.
The idea was to get some honest feedback on whether the idea has legs, and some expert input on where it might go. The result, by all measures, exceeded our expectations. Not only does the Flip the Clinic idea seem to meet a clear and broad need for new thinking about health care delivery, but it may just offer a necessary inspiration for doing some hard but necessary work in changing it.
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