Author Archives: Brian C. Quinn

NYC Macroscope Puts Data at the Fingertips of City Officials

Aug 22, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

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New York City is helping officials better understand and respond to public health needs by putting data at their fingertips. The NYC Macroscope uses information captured routinely in the doctor’s office to paint a picture of health for the entire city—quickly, accurately and inexpensively. This powerful use of electronic health records has the potential to transform public health decision-making across the country. Learn more in this NewPublicHealth interview with the NYC Macroscope’s Carolyn Greene, MD. — Brian Quinn

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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.)

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A Dispatch from the Cutting Edge of Placebo Studies

Jul 9, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Courtesy of The Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS) Courtesy of The Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS)

It’s a rare and exciting opportunity to witness a new field of research blossom. Although working on the cutting edge is thrilling for those researchers who operate there, day in and day out—it’s also scary. Every step they take leads them into more uncharted territory.

I recently attended the first of five public forums on the science of placebos, hosted by Pioneer grantee the Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS). This forum series, co-sponsored by the Pioneer Portfolio, offers rare public access to the small but burgeoning field of placebo studies.

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Big Data Backlash

Jun 5, 2013, 4:01 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

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

The big data hype cycle is playing out in predictable ways. Perhaps it’s inevitable that, after all the talk about how big data is going to save the world, we’re starting to see a similar rash of stories about how the promise of big data has been oversold. Microsoft Research’s Kate Crawford has been particularly outspoken as of late, with Quentin Hardy recounting her “six myths of big data” in The New York Times last weekend and Kate’s own Foreign Policy piece in May, which pointed out that big data put our privacy at risk, in addition to being susceptible to bias, misunderstanding, limitations and discriminatory outcomes.

I’m all for a little healthy skepticism. In fact, Pioneer seeks out those who are asking questions that others are not. But the potential of big data to take on some of health and health care’s most intractable problems is something we’re excited about here at RWJF. Too many Americans are unhealthy, our health care system isn’t working and I’m confident that effective analysis and use of big data has (at the very least a small) role to play in turning things around. I don’t want this backlash to stifle explorations into what that role could be.

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Introducing What’s Next Health: Conversations with Pioneers

May 15, 2013, 2:15 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

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

One of the best things about our jobs at Pioneer is that we get to have conversations with interesting people doing interesting things. As we network with these visionary thinkers, we want to share some of the great stuff we’re learning and hearing with you—to bring value to the work you’re doing. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce What's Next Health: Conversations with Pioneers, a new series here at RWJF that explores the future of health and health care, asks the big questions, and looks to the cutting-edge for solutions.

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