Archive for: September 2013

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.

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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

#LATISM, a Culture of Health Experiment

Sep 26, 2013, 8:19 PM, Posted by Christine Nieves

Group shot with Christine Nieves

Latinos in Tech and Social Media, better known as LATISM, is a movement that I had heard about, but not yet experienced. That all changed on Sept. 21 and 22, when I joined hundreds and hundreds of Latinos from around the nation at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan for the 5th annual LATISM conference. The focus: business, health, tech, education and advocacy.

For me, it all started six months ago. Andres Henriquez from the National Science Foundation, Rob Torres from the Gates Foundation, and I had a fortuitous encounter in Washington, D.C., as members of the Aprendiendo Juntos "Learning Together" Council. Aprendiendo Juntos Council is a multi-sector group of researchers, practitioners, and policy experts who seek to identify new models and practical strategies to improve educational outcomes for Hispanic-Latino families through the wise deployment of digital technologies. After sharing our concern for underrepresentation of high-quality Latino candidates for philanthropic funding in our respective organizations, we concluded that we wanted to demystify philanthropy. So we embarked on an experiment. What if we could talk about our trajectory–from hardship to philanthropy–with an audience of digital movers and shakers?

And that’s what we did over the September weekend. It was an engaging conversation with Latinos–working in technology, business, education and advocacy–who are ultimately committed to making their communities healthier and stronger. This conversation is just the beginning, and a great way to test my pet-hypothesis: That we will find the opportunity to share a Culture of Health in the places we least expect to find it.

What do you think? Please share your comments and ideas with me here and via Twitter @nieveschristine.

Flipping the Clinic: The Beginning of the Beginning

Sep 25, 2013, 5:13 PM, Posted by Thomas Goetz

memorial day micro

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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Knight Foundation News Challenge: Looking for a Few Great Data-Leveraging Ideas

Sep 9, 2013, 11:59 AM, Posted by Culture of Health Blog Team

11_06_30_HealthFair_RWJF_4_5093

On August 19, we announced a new $100,000 prize as part of the Knight Foundation’s latest News Challenge, which seeks innovative ideas to harness information and data for the health of communities. The RWJF award is for those entrants who combine public health data with other types of population data to improve the health of communities. The Knight Foundation has committed $2 million to the contest as well.

The entries phase opened this week, and, as of this writing, 34 entries have already been submitted! We asked Paul Tarini, senior program officer for the Pioneer Portfolio, and Anne Weiss, senior program officer and team director of the Quality/Equality team, to reflect on the 105 ideas shared during the initial inspiration phase:

Paul commented:

“I liked the idea about linking health and housing data to improve the provision of social services, health services and housing support to people who are homeless. I also liked the vision for CHEER from Miami-Dade County, which is trying to link kids’ education and health data to improve outcomes for children and inform policy. Similarly comes an idea from Virginia to link datasets from the Health Department on birth issues, early childhood health conditions, and maternal health conditions to social service data and educational outcomes.

My question to everyone who submitted ideas during the inspiration phase: Can you actually get the data you’re interested in using? And, how will you make the data actionable?”

Anne adds:

“I have to say that a lot of what I saw wasn’t exactly what I expected. I saw apps and technology that used ONE source of data. There were a number that did combine data, but I couldn’t get a very specific sense of what data they’d combined and how it would be used.

The ones that excited me, if I read them right, were the ones about combining data on grocery store purchasing with primary care data, as well as the idea related to Trenton public transit.These seemed to me to be fresh, to address social determinants of health, and to leverage the power of different types of data. What I especially liked about these is that they have some interested, committed partners at the table who want the project to succeed, and they’ve got at least an early notion of specifics—what they will do and how they’ll do it.”

Be sure to keep an eye on the Knight News Challenge page to see the ideas being submitted—and if YOU have a bright idea you’d like to submit, be sure to do it soon. The challenge closes on Sept. 17; that’s just 11 days away!

When it Comes to Health Care, We’ve Been Living in the Land of Oz for Too Long

Sep 6, 2013, 4:30 PM, Posted by Tara Oakman

Cost Report April 2013

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken!” 

In some ways, our health care system has traditionally functioned much like the fantastic land of Oz depicted in one of my favorite movies.  Consumers and purchasers are expected to be passive consumers, doing what they are told and paying whatever price is levied based on a high degree of trust and limited information. This model seems increasingly ridiculous. We now face an urgent need to improve the quality and efficiency of our health care system.

But to do that, we need information, a lot of information. Health professionals, purchasers, consumers—basically anyone who comes in contact with health care—need timely, accurate, comprehensive information on cost and quality if they are to make smart decisions. Without such information, not even a wizard could do the trick. But right now, such information is usually unavailable, or, when it is accessible, too often indecipherable. In fact, the Institute of Medicine estimates that $105 billion is wasted every year in the U.S. because of a lack of competition and excessive price variations in health care, and a lack of information on the price of health care services plays a large role in this waste.

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