Bringing in Diverse Perspectives to Build a Culture of Health

Sep 24, 2014, 9:00 AM, Posted by Lori Melichar

Portrait of Susannah Fox, RWJF entrepreneur in residence. Susannah Fox, RWJF Entrepreneur in Residence

Entrepreneurs start from a place of passion, then work tirelessly to make others see their vision. I'm excited to announce that Susannah Fox will be pushing all of us at the Foundation to behave more like entrepreneurs.

This month, Fox began a new role as the Foundation's next entrepreneur in residence. She was previously an associate director at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, where she combined traditional survey research with field work in online patient communities. She excels at using data and storytelling to compel policymakers, consumers, and entrepreneurs to understand and discuss key health care issues.

To build a Culture of Health in the United States, we have to consider new approaches and ways of thinking. We need the creativity, imagination, and efforts of people from a range of backgrounds and industries to develop innovative solutions to our most pressing health and health care challenges. A health and technology researcher and trend spotter, Fox will be a valuable asset to these efforts.

Fox will collaborate with staff across the Foundation to initiate key projects, some of which will draw on her unique expertise in online patient communities and the social impact of technology. Even more important, we hope that she will challenge us, question our philanthropic processes, force us to consider new ways of doing things, and help us overcome the constraints we often place on ourselves. A master networker, Fox will help scan for new opportunities for the Foundation and will help us partner with entrepreneurs and other leaders to build a Culture of Health.

The entrepreneur in residence role, though successful in its first year, is still an experiment for RWJF. Our first entrepreneur in residence, former WIRED executive editor and Iodine Founder Thomas Goetz, brought his expertise on the design and the communication of health data and information to the Foundation, helping us to consider new approaches to challenges in health and health care. Goetz worked with us to develop two key initiatives: Flip the Clinic, a project to reimagine the encounter between patients and care providers, and Visualizing Health, a partnership with the University of Michigan to explore and share best practices for visualizing data to communicate health and risk information.

We're excited to see where this next phase in our experiment takes us, and we hope you'll stay tuned for updates about Fox's work with RWJF.

Lori Melichar, a labor economist, is a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she focuses on discovering, exploring and learning from cutting edge ideas with the potential to help create a Culture of Health. Read her full bio.