Archive for: July 2012

Can Economics Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis?

Jul 30, 2012, 4:30 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn / RWJF Brian Quinn

At RWJF, we fund grantees looking for innovative solutions to seemingly intractable health problems.  We take risks to test ideas and approaches that could lead to exponential changes that improve or even save lives.

One of the ways our Pioneer portfolio grantees size up complex public health issues is by using a novel lens to view an existing problem. That’s exactly the approach taken by Extending the Cure, a project that studies the growing problem of antibiotic resistance from an environmental economics perspective.

In a cover story in latest issue of the Milken Institute Review, Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of Extending the Cure, examines the growing – and frightening – problem of antibiotic resistance.  Laxminarayan suggests that antibiotic effectiveness should be viewed as a limited natural resource, one that can be depleted with overuse.  Just as we take steps to preserve clean air and water, we must also conserve antibiotics by using them only when absolutely necessary, he says.

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Meta Care

Jul 18, 2012, 4:30 PM, Posted by Nancy Barrand

Nancy Barrand B&W close Nancy Barrand

“You need a logarithmic methodology to expand capacity to match the logarithmic increase in knowledge that is occurring worldwide.”

That’s how Dr. Sanjeev Arora described the force multiplication theory at the core of Project ECHO during last week’s launch of the ECHO model throughout the VA. It’s also a call to action for how we approach medical training and health care delivery.

Knowledge is power, yes, but in health care, knowledge is life-saving. Knowledge is more pain-free hours in the day. Knowledge is quality of life.

We need to think differently about how we share knowledge.

Let’s allow Dr. Arora to walk us through the math:

"More knowledge has been created in the last 100 years than was created in the last 5,000. And more knowledge will be created in the next 50 years than has ever occurred before. So what this leads to is a very complex issue—you have an explosion of best practices and how do you take these best practices to affect underserved populations that may be living all over the world? As a result of this knowledge explosion, what is happening is there is a shortage of highly specialized expertise all over the world, not just rural areas; even urban underserved areas experience this shortage."

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Innovation and Youth: Tapping Our Young Resources

Jul 11, 2012, 4:21 PM, Posted by Christine Nieves

Christine Nieves / RWJF Christine Nieves

In youth, everything is possible. Knowledge is fresh and ideas come freely. There are few inhibitions, restrictions, and obligations. And oftentimes, working from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. is an unquestionable norm. Why? Because we believe, above all else, that our product, our idea, or our approach will be revolutionary and beyond anything out there.

The notion of working around the clock to see an idea come to life is natural, and most importantly, necessary. For our generation of young entrepreneurs and visionaries, there is often little to lose…outside of time. Urgency leads the charge. And although we may not always bring expertise to the table, what we bring is “no fear” for failure. Because we understand that when we fail, we learn. And learning is at the core of innovation.

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