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Climb Every Mountain

Jun 25, 2013, 1:48 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

As vacation time begins, RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, recalls the trip of a lifetime: her exhausting yet thrilling trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in summer 2011.

Writing on LinkedIn as part of its Influencer Summer Guide, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey relives the experience, made all the more memorable because she was accompanied by her daughter Rel:

"Each day, the air was thinner, the grade sharper, the camps rougher, the fatigue more severe. Finally, in parkas, gaiters, and high-tech hand gear, out-climbing clouds and glaciers and even some of our fellow trekkers, we crested the rocky summit. More moonscape than landscape, it was lonely, beautiful, terrifying, and spectacular. Someone said it was like “wing-walking on a 747.”

Most of us won't hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro this summer, but Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey says there is a lesson to be learned from her ascent to the so-called "roof of Africa." It's simply this: Climb a metaphorical mountain. Take on a challenge once in a while. Force yourself to venture outside your comfort zone. Look at the world from a different perspective. After all, she writes: "Such a challenge can be done in many ways and places, not just at the top of a mountain."

You can read the full blog post here

Control Health Data, Don't Drown in It

Jun 6, 2013, 7:26 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Data: It's a flood, and we run the danger of drowning in it. Even more unsettling, says RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, "a good portion of that flood of information is about our health, yet we have few tools to control or even decipher this most personal of data."

Writing in her latest post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey suggests that all of that data should be helping us—we just need to get a handle on it.

RWJF has focused on just that goal, having funded development of tools and technologies to manage medical information since the mid-2000s, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes. Our latest initiative is a $120,000 contest to encourage technology developers to create the best way to help consumers make sense of a huge database of hospital prices published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey concludes:

I believe such information management projects can be as or more transformative for an individual’s well-being than a new drug or surgical technique. Hopefully, their advent means we are entering an era of high tech tools where big data, far from drowning us, will help us manage our health in ways we never could before."

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers.

Rebuilding Health Communities After Disaster

May 28, 2013, 4:30 PM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD

It is a testament to the American spirit that less than a day after a tornado brought a 20-mile-wide swath of death and destruction to Moore, OK, public officials and residents unequivocally pledged to rebuild the community. “We will rebuild and we will regain our strength,” Gov. Mary Fallin told a news conference after viewing the devastation. Similar assertions were made after Hurricane Sandy wiped out entire neighborhoods on the New York and New Jersey coasts eight months ago, and will surely be made again and again after future natural disasters.

I applaud the can-do determination. But I also suggest that we take a minute and think, not just about rebuilding, but creating something better. Why not rebuild communities where health and wellness is a top priority?

That's according to RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in her latest post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers writing for the site.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes:

Imagine rebuilding neighborhoods that make healthy living an easy and fun choice, that offer more places to safely walk or bike, more open spaces where families can exercise and play, and more restaurants that offer healthy choices and provide nutritional information on their menus.

To learn how New Orleans successfully rebuilt a healthier environment after Hurricane Katrina read the rest of the LinkedIn post here.

Why Employers Should Take a Healthy Interest in Employee Wellness

May 16, 2013, 11:18 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Employers finance the largest share of the nation’s health care costs. If they want to hold down medical spending—and reap the other benefits associated with better employee health, such as reduced absenteeism—then investing in wellness is one of the smartest business decisions companies can make.

That's according to RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, in her inaugural post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is one of about 300 LinkedIn Influencers.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey writes:

Cold, hard data on the success, or failure, of a wellness program, derived from credible and transparent measurements will not only increase staff morale and quantify the value of their personal investment, it will also generate a trove of information that can and should be used by employers to extract reduced insurance rates."