This year was hard. 2021 should be harder

With 2020 in the rear view mirror and vaccines on the way, we grieve for lives and livelihoods lost and many of us yearn for elements of our lives…and for our kids’ and parents’ lives…to return to normal.

For me, normal means MORE. More traveling to see family, more going to movies with friends and more catching up with my colleagues as we walk to our on-site cafeteria. For my kids, normal means more playdates, better birthday parties and learning in person from people. …


How Not To Hurt My In-laws This Thanksgiving

Lately, as I walk around New York City, I feel as though I am embodying a walking contradiction.

On one hand, by day, I work for the largest health and healthcare foundation in the country. I know the unequivocal personal and public health benefits of wearing marks, practicing physical distancing and avoiding crowds — particularly as weather changes and flu season rolls in.

On the other hand, I’m a person who craves community and diversity of opinions and experiences. I’m a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. …


Managing worry in the time of uncertainty

With no in-person soccer practice and plenty of time for homework, I am finding once again that my 14 year old daughter has time to talk with me before bed. Usually, I spend this time listening, but a few weeks ago, she asked me a question — which has stuck in my mind ever since.

“Mom, what should I be worried about?”

My answer was quick, instinctive, and protective, “Oh, honey, you shouldn’t be worried about anything.”

Then I hugged her tight with tears in my eyes.

In the weeks since that conversation, as the impact and uncertainty of the…


MY NUDGE STORY

Seven years ago, Sheena Iyengar came to talk to us at the Foundation about her book, The Art of Choosing. It was one of my first introductions to ideas like choice architecture, defaults and nudges. Her talk was as fascinating as it was informative — replete with stories from her research and the work of others (including my old professor, Barry Schwartz) about how relatively simple changes could have profound impact in people’s health and well being.

Credit: Parenting Upstream

Among her stories, one has stuck with me all these years later. Sheena told us about a research study that looked at how…


Credit: Pexels/AlbertRafael

If that title made you feel anxious, please read on.

Does the quality of our relationships affect our health?

Any of us, who has ever gone through struggles with our partners, children, parents, or colleagues know the answer is an obvious “Yes.”

How many of us today alone have tuned out to what someone was saying — distracted by thoughts about an argument, a misunderstanding or a hunch that something might not be right with someone we work with, live with or depend on. I often find myself in meetings not listening to a thing the presenter is saying with a pit in my stomach ruminating about the way I…


Lots of folks spot emerging trends, but are you making them work for you?

I want to tell you a success story.

Five years ago, when Uber, AirBnB, and Handy emerged as examples of companies who didn’t own or employ the products and services they were selling, our team invited the leading expert on the sharing economy, Rachel Botsman, to speak at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This was part of our What’s Next Health speaker series and our goal was for her to help us all think through the health implications of this emerging trend.

Rachel shared with us the key features of a market that is ripe for a sharing solution and…


The Gray Anatomy of a Slow Hunch

Have you ever disagreed with your healthcare provider? Maybe about a diagnosis or a recommended treatment for you or your family member? If you disagreed with the advice, did you still take it? Or did you leave the prescription unfilled, the appointment with the specialist unscheduled?

While Americans largely report satisfaction with their own physicians, there is growing distrust in the American healthcare system. When you look inside the statistics, you see more distrust among certain segments of the population, including younger Americans and those with lower-incomes.

The Changing Doctor-Patient Relationship

I am the daughter of two doctors, and a childhood of family dinner…


Why Sharing Hunches Is Critical For You And Your Organization

I have a hunch that, if you tried something new, the most important meeting of your day could very well be one that has no clear objectives. One where people share incomplete thoughts and unformed ideas, where no problems actually get solved.

That meeting probably sounds like a nightmare to you. Because if you’re like me, you spend more time in meetings than you do actually getting stuff done.

They say time is our most precious resource. I believe this, and recognize that “too many meetings” is a problem my organization is trying to solve. So why did I call…


The Evidence Isn’t Clear But Two Simple Questions May Help You Make A Better Decision.

Afew years ago at SXSW, I joined my fellow festival attendees on the sidewalks of downtown Austin, Texas. As we walked past historic sites like Austin City Limits and the Alamo theater, we were all looking at one thing…our phones. In addition to the app that helped us understand what was happening where, festival attendees were tweeting with abundance and Instagram was blowing up!

When I looked up to check a street sign, I caught a glimpse of a rainbow in the sky. In my life, rainbows are a rare occurrence, and this was a sight to see! But as…


Opportunities that are in play — and overlooked

You probably know about Bitcoin, the virtual currency that is exchanged via a blockchain Or maybe you’ve heard about how blockchain technology helped facilitate transactions on the dark web.

You might assume that hackers, entrepreneurs and other innovative data scientists are playing around with the technology to try to eek new capabilities out of the internet. But you might be surprised to know just how many really big, mainstream companies have devoted significant internal resources to explore how this emerging technology could help us improve health and health care.

Banks and others in the financial sector are betting big on…

Lori Melichar

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (@RWJF) Director exploring cutting-edge ideas and emerging trends to build a Culture of Health.

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