Category Archives: Competitions

Sep 5 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: How adverse working conditions affect health, the impact of the “trophy culture” on kids, antibiotic development, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Adverse working conditions contribute substantially to the risk of depression for working-age adults, according to new research from a team led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Sarah A. Burgard, PhD. The study is the first of its kind to show the impact of the sum total of negative working conditions, rather than focusing on only one particular risk factor, Science Daily reports.

A study led by RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholars alumnus Michael Hochman, MD, finds that the philosophy behind patient-centered medical homes supports improved patient care and better physician and staff morale, Bio-Medicine reports. Hochman and his colleagues studied Galaxy Health, a program jointly operated by the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. "We all know that fewer and fewer young physicians are choosing careers in primary care because of the difficult work schedules, lack of support and lower salaries," Hochman said. "What we did here was to move in the direction of a team-based approach and it resulted in improved satisfaction for physicians in training with their primary care experiences."

RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Hilary Levey Friedman, PhD, wrote a column for the Time Magazine Ideas blog, reflecting on a trend in organized children’s activities that she calls “the carving up of honor.” It consists of devising smaller categories that offer more opportunities for prizes. Giving children rewards for doing an activity lowers intrinsic motivation, she writes, which bodes poorly for long-term success and for pride in hard-earned achievement. “The carving up of honor and the trophy culture that accompanies it has clearly gone too far: carving up honor probably doesn’t improve children’s performance or motivation—but it may mean a bigger payday for those who run childhood tournaments.” Friedman identified the trend while researching her new book, Playing to Win.

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Apr 9 2013

Whoa! Did You Feel That?

Michael Painter, JD, MD, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program. This post originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas Blog.


Have you read “The Swerve,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by renowned historian Stephen Greenblatt? In it a canny Renaissance era book hunter discovers and releases knowledge in the form of a medieval, controversial poem lost to posterity. The poem had dwindled down to a single handmade, leather-bound version held behind the vine-covered, ancient walls of an Italian monastery. According to Greenblatt, the unleashing of that book changed everything that came after. That small book with the long poem on the nature of things set in motion forces that challenged the status quo and triggered dramatic, world-wide change—a swerve. The only way that knowledge survived the millennia was because monks trained in hand crafting books had carefully copied the one survivor—and saved it for centuries.

Last week, the Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation may not have triggered quite such a momentous unleashing—but this powerful collaboration did start something very interesting with potentially significant implications for health care education.

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Sep 7 2012

Finding an AED in an Emergency

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program alumna and an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine. She recently led the MyHeartMap Challenge, a community improvement initiative and research project to identify and map automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Philadelphia. Read a post she wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the Challenge.


Human Capital Blog: Why was it important to collect information about the location of AEDs?

Raina Merchant: Currently there is no comprehensive map or database of where all the AEDs are located—in Philadelphia or really anywhere. So when someone collapses, we have to rely on people remembering where they last saw an AED. In fact, most 911 centers don’t have databases of where AEDs are located. So, the likelihood of being able to find one in an emergency is pretty low, and as a result we have these lifesaving devices that are rarely used. We used the MyHeartMap Challenge, an innovation tournament to have the public find AEDs in Philadelphia, take a photo using a smartphone app, and tag their location so we can make this information available to anyone who needs it.

HCB: How many people or teams participated in the Challenge? How many AEDs were identified?

Merchant: We were really excited about the results. We had more than 330 participants (individuals and teams) who contributed data to the Challenge. They reported more than 1,500 locations of AEDs in the city of Philadelphia. We’re still trying to sort out who exactly participated, but we had representation from schools and health organizations, as well as a lot of individuals who recruited their friends, neighbors and colleagues.  We were worried that people would make up devices, submit false locations or send low-quality pictures, but we were really impressed with the quality of data we received. Every one took this challenge very seriously. The challenge had two winners who were each awarded $9,000 for reporting more than 430 AEDs each. Both winners were also over the age of 40.

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Jun 15 2012

Game Solutions for Health Care: A Spectacularly Transformative Learning Experience

Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, is associate professor and faculty member of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the Penn School of Nursing. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar alumna. As a health systems researcher, she develops innovative models that promote an integrated mind/body approach to mental and physical health care.

Nancy Hanrahan

At a time when there is an urgent need for innovative solutions to health care challenges, educators have a responsibility to prepare a generation of students who can think outside the box. The Inaugural Game Solutions for Healthcare Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing showcases such transformative learning experiences.

At this event, students from nursing and other schools within the University of Pennsylvania show what happens when you “mix-it-up” and work together to build innovative games and applications that target specific health care problems. More than 60 undergraduate students, staff and faculty participated in the game projects from five different schools at Penn. Teams included students from nursing, engineering, computer science, law, medicine and business. Nursing students defined a health care problem and then a team of engineers, or computer scientists, developed a technological solution.


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