Now Viewing: Competitions

Pitch Us: The First-Ever Pioneer Pitch Day

Aug 13, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

We’re always willing to hear your ideas for how to innovate health and health care—and to change the world in the process. We accept brief proposals through our website 365 days a year. And we read them, every single one, looking for the big idea that has not yet been considered or the seed of an exploration that could lead to that big idea.

On October 16, we’re going to try a little experiment—a new way for you to share your ideas with us: We’ll be hosting our first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day in New York City. Over the course of two hours, eight teams will tell us their vision for how they want to change the world of health and health care—and how they plan to go about doing so. They’ll be peppered with questions from me, my colleagues on the Pioneer team, our grantees and from a few of our friends, including Esther Dyson. Thomas Goetz, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s entrepreneur-in-residence, will be our emcee. (Update: We are excited to announce that Fast Company staff writer Ben Schiller, NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, Games for Health co-founder Ben Sawyer, PatientsLikeMe co-founder and president Ben Heywood, Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda, and IDEO Life Sciences Chief Strategist Rodrigo Martinez will be joining us as judges. Stay tuned for additional updates.)

View Full Post

MCAT Training Camp: Final Reflections

Jul 23, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Khan Academy MCAT Competition 2013 Finalist Video

Khan Academy recently held a national MCAT Video Competition, a collaboration between Khan Academy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Of 67 submissions, 15 were selected for an all-expenses-paid weeklong training program facilitated by Khan Academy staff and scholars to create educational tutorials for concepts that will be tested by the new MCAT2015 exam, including human behavior, social sciences, inequality, and diversity. In this post, Khan Academy medical fellow and Pioneer grantee, Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, reflects on the training camp.

By Rishi Desai

The training camp ended, and I feel incredibly mixed. The only feeling of sadness comes from seeing folks head home after having gotten to know them quite well. But having this group, each focused exclusively on figuring out how to share the beauty of the biological, physical, and social sciences through videos, is a truly unique experience. To have us all hanging out together in one hotel for a week is about as intimate and organic as it gets. We started out the week as strangers, and we emerged as brothers and sisters.

View Full Post

Khan Academy MCAT Video Competition: And the winners are….

Jun 27, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter, senior program officer Mike Painter, senior program officer
Rishi Desai, medical fellow at Khan Academy Rishi Desai, medical fellow at Khan Academy

The Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced the winners of the Khan Academy MCAT Video Competition today. Our goal was to identify up to 15 individuals who demonstrated particular skill, aptitude, and passion for making compelling online educational videos that will help prepare viewers for the Medical College Admissions Test. 

It was a challenging challenge, to say the least. Participants had to prepare and submit three educational videos on MCAT material along with 10 related questions about their video topics. The winners will have the opportunity to attend an all-expenses-paid Khan Academy boot camp in the San Francisco Bay Area from July 14-21 to hone their video-making skills.

The competition was popular—67 individuals submitted videos and questions. Entrants included undergrads, medical students, nurses, MDs, PhDs and faculty from 22 states, D.C. and one territory. Over a recent weekend, the judges inhaled all 67 submissions—about 200 videos and 600 questions—and identified the lucky 15 winners. 

View Full Post

Return to Oz: Behind the Curtain at Khan Academy

Jun 6, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Dr. Paul Wang addresses students at Stanford Medical School Dr. Paul Wang addresses students at Stanford Medical School

I recently stepped out of my largely virtual, long distance relationship with the Khan Academy and went behind the wizard’s curtain to see how it’s actually done.  Certainly, we here at RWJF have met many Khan personalities in real life, including Sal, himself, as well as Dr. Rishi Desai, who leads the Khan Healthcare and Medicine Initiative. However, it's one thing to meet individuals outside of their natural habitat—and quite another to track them back to their offices in Mountain View, California, and see what gives. 

From SFO, I carefully followed my Droid Navigator’s directions off Highway 101 into a warren of non-descript low-slung office buildings—non-descript except for the telltale proliferation of Google signs and young adults riding colorful Google bikes.  I drove around to the back of several of those complexes and finally found the correct numbered grouping.  It really could have been any office or doctors’ office complex in the U.S.  The Khan suite is on the second floor. 

View Full Post

A Learning Journey

May 7, 2013, 11:31 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

L9995897

A sea change is happening in education. Millions are taking free online courses, some offered by elite universities. Lectures in crowded halls have moved online, with teachers and students using class time for discussion and problem-solving.

Unlike online courses and degree programs, the increasingly popular MOOC (massive open online course) is a relative newcomer to online education. The model beefs up regular classes while offering a free taste of college to anyone with a computer and Internet access.

Critics fear MOOCs may replace or cheapen brick-and-mortar education, and point to their high student drop-out rates. But many leading researchers consider MOOCs a worthy experiment.

Online educator Khan Academy is convinced of the value of online content. Like a MOOC, the material it creates is free and available to anyone, anywhere.

But that’s where the similarities end.

View Full Post