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Bringing in Diverse Perspectives to Build a Culture of Health

Sep 24, 2014, 9:00 AM, Posted by Lori Melichar

Susannah Fox Susannah Fox, RWJF Entrepreneur in Residence

Entrepreneurs start from a place of passion, then work tirelessly to make others see their vision. I'm excited to announce that Susannah Fox will be pushing all of us at the Foundation to behave more like entrepreneurs.

This month, Fox began a new role as the Foundation's next entrepreneur in residence. She was previously an associate director at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, where she combined traditional survey research with field work in online patient communities. She excels at using data and storytelling to compel policymakers, consumers, and entrepreneurs to understand and discuss key health care issues.

To build a Culture of Health in the United States, we have to consider new approaches and ways of thinking. We need the creativity, imagination, and efforts of people from a range of backgrounds and industries to develop innovative solutions to our most pressing health and health care challenges. A health and technology researcher and trend spotter, Fox will be a valuable asset to these efforts.

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I’m RWJF’s Newest Entrepreneur in Residence

Sep 23, 2014, 1:54 PM, Posted by Susannah Fox

Susannah Fox offers office hours at RWJF. Susannah Fox offers office hours at RWJF.

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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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