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Whoa! Did You Feel That?

Apr 8, 2013, 1:00 PM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter

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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Congratulations to the Winners of Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders!

Apr 16, 2012, 4:40 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Today at the World Health Care Congress, RWJF Assistant Vice President, Research and Evaluation, Brian Quinn announced the winners of the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition, supported by Pioneer and Ashoka ChangemakersInnovations for Health looked to the international health community for forward-facing, transformative ideas with the potential to change health and medicine here in the United States.

We wanted to find cutting-edge solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care. While the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is devoted to improving the health and health care of Americans, this competition arises from what we call our “Flat World” work. That is the name we’ve given to our efforts that look around the world for innovations that could be used to solve the health and health care challenges we’re facing here in the United States.

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Meet the Innovations for Health Competition Finalists!

Mar 19, 2012, 3:19 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Last year, the Pioneer portfolio partnered with Ashoka Changemakers to launch the Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders competition to find health care solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care.

After nearly 400 entries from 73 countries, we’re pleased to announce the finalists, and share a blog post with more details from Ashoka Changemakers. Stay tuned for the winners announcement on April 16!

Vote for the Most Influential Articles of the Year

Dec 7, 2011, 2:15 AM

It’s time for RWJF’s annual research poll! David C. Colby, vice president of Research and Evaluation, announced the 20 nominees for RWJF’s Most Influential Research Articles of 2011. We are honored that three Pioneer grantees made the list:

Vote for your top 5 Most Influential Research articles of 2011 now and use #Final_5 on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to follow the conversation and let others know which articles you think should make the top five for 2011. Voting ends on midnight of December 23 so act fast! This year’s winners will be announced in the next issue of Evidence Matters to be released in early 2012.

RWJF Grantees Named to Forbes' Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs List

Dec 2, 2011, 3:28 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Forbes is known for its lists – America’s richest people, most expensive zip codes, most promising companies and more. This year, for the first time in its 94-year history, Forbes released a new list – the top 30 social entrepreneurs. We’re proud to announce that Pioneergrantees made the list – twice!

Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy made the list for B Lab, a nonprofit that certifies businesses as “B Corporations”—companies that adopt a legal structure requiring them to create value for a broad set of stakeholders—employees, communities and the environment–not just their shareholders.  Their hope is that certified “B Corps” will flourish by attracting consumers who are looking to support businesses that align with their values and helping investors to drive capital to higher-impact investments with greater social responsibility, as well as financial returns.  To be certified, companies must adopt the legal structure and pass an annual B Impact Assessment. Under their Pioneer-funded grant, B Lab will develop the first set of criteria to assess a corporation’s performance in areas of employee and community health and safety to be included in the annual assessment.

Sara Horowitz is listed for founding Freelancers Union, which provides affordable health insurance to freelancers, consultants and temps who don’t have access to employer coverage. Her grant from Pioneer enables the Freelancer's Union to expand its group purchasing health-benefits program from New York into New Jersey and Georgia.  A previous grant established the for-profit Freelancers Insurance Company to design a health plan model for freelancers in New York state that combines catastrophic insurance coverage with coverage for prevention and wellness services.

RWJF’s Vulnerable Populations Portfolio is also excited to see two grantees on the list. Jill Vialet made the list for founding Playworks, which improves the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Playworks sends trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess and play into a positive experience that helps kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity throughout the school day. Rebecca Onie is included for co-founding Health Leads, which mobilizes undergraduate volunteers to help patients fill “prescriptions” shared during provider visits for basic resources needed to be healthy, like food, heating assistance, child care or housing. Health Leads is one of many promising models addressing social needs through the health care system.

As team director of the Pioneer Portfolio, I’m thrilled to see our grantees singled out as innovative entrepreneurs. These innovators represent the kind of leadership and ingenuity that can help us tackle the tough health and health care problems we face in the U.S. Check out the story and don’t forget to congratulate Jill Vialet (@jillvialet), Rebecca Onie (@rebeccaonie), Sara (@Sara_Horowitz) and the B Lab crew (@BCorporation) on Twitter using the #Impact30 hashtag.