Pioneer Pitch Day

Announcing the Finalists

UPDATE: Find out which ideas we selected to advance to Pitch Day out of the 500+ submissions we received, and follow us on Twitter for future updates.

Pioneer Pitch Day is an opportunity for innovators with ideas for transforming health and health care to pitch their ideas – live and in person – to an esteemed group of judges and RWJF program staff.

Pitch Day will take place on October 16 at AppNexus’ headquarters in New York's Flatiron District. Thomas Goetz, RWJF Entrepreneur-in-Residence and former executive editor of Wired, will host this invitation-only event in conjunction with the foundation’s Pioneer portfolio, which is focused on funding transformative innovations in health and health care.

How Does the Process Work?

First, we issued an open call for ideas on this website (submissions closed as of September 6th). We received over 500 submissions, and selected eight of these for continued consideration. Now, the teams behind these ideas will attend Pitch Day in NYC on October 16 to make the case for funding in front of an esteemed panel of judges. (Learn more about the judges.)

Following Pitch Day, one or more of these teams will be invited to have a meeting with Pioneer program staff and will potentially be invited to submit a full proposal for funding.

What Kinds of Ideas is Pioneer Looking For?

We’re not looking for incremental improvements. We’re not looking for apps. We’re looking for original solutions to entrenched problems that could dramatically improve Americans’ lives.

Read about our funding strategy and explore our existing programs and grants. You can also follow our blog, Pioneering Ideas, for information on the work we fund and our teams’ ideas about transforming health and health care.

Pioneer Pitch Day

Using Positive Psychology to PROPEL Patient Safety in hospitals

The Maryland Patient Safety Center is designing a patient safety certification program. The initiative will train Patient Safety Officers in the technical aspects of patient safety. This proposal seeks funding to also design/deliver a program to provide organizational transformation skills. The aim is for hospitals to have a PSO who knows what's needed to keep patients safe and has the expertise to motivate staff to consistently ...more »

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Spreading the Riches of Collaborative Care: Linking Behavioral Health and Primary Care

One in 5 Americans has a diagnosable mental disorder but only 40% receive care. Of these, only 1 in 4 see a mental health specialist; the majority are treated in primary care. This initiative will leverage resources of select professional organizations to support wide-spread integration of behavioral health and primary care as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act using the Collaborative Care Model (CCM). CCM is ...more »

Submitted by (@kellywhalen)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Strings Attached

Create the outcomes deemed valuable, life saving and/ or for the public good by linking to something that your population believes is important. For example, to improve vaccine education/ administration rates: for teens attach to driver's license; for college student attach to scholarship/financial aid, sports participation, gym membership; for adult incentivize with gas card, grocery or childcare voucher. what is important ...more »

Submitted by (@marlenedolan)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Transforming a Liability Into an Asset

What would it look like to take a seeming liability and turn it around to be an invaluable asset, potentially impacting millions of Americans? Adults 50 and older, currently reaching retirement age in droves – specifically, 10K a day – can actually provide a double-win to our society, and to healthcare as a whole. And what has 3rd grade literacy got to do with it? Consistent volunteerism among older adults has been ...more »

Submitted by (@davidmoren)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Supported from the start

Think back to the last time you dealt with a serious health condition. Did you leave your visit to the doctor with more questions than answers, feeling vulnerable and uninformed? Did you Google your symptoms and sift through junk search results? Despite the fact that doctors have only a few minutes per patient, most do NOT refer to support services. There are literally thousands of support groups and online communities ...more »

Submitted by (@joleary)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Practicum in Perfection

We train social workers to reproduce existing remedies to complex social problems rather than developing new paradigms of human health premised on a vision of a perfect world. To that end we propose to build a cyber field experience called Practicum in Perfection that allows students to envision and then create ideal solutions to critical health and social disparities. Through avatars in a cyber world this practicum ...more »

Submitted by (@dwozniak)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

One Health for People and the Planet

Recent estimates indicate that one billion people are affected by parasitic, vector-borne and zoonotic diseases annually; and antimicrobial resistance, and nutrition and food safety also have strong ecological underpinnings. Viewing these challenges in isolation of their environmental connections has resulted in reactive, narrow, and resource-intensive responses that compromise both health and health systems. To more ...more »

Submitted by (@catherinemachalaba)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Face It TOGETHER: Empowering Communities to Solve Addiction

Addiction is our nation’s top public health challenge. It affects 23 million Americans, yet 75 percent will never get well due to failures in our system of care and powerful barriers like stigma, shame and fear. Addiction has long been recognized by science as a chronic disease, but almost everywhere it’s still treated like an acute health problem. What would our communities look like if we actually treated and understood ...more »

Submitted by (@jsturdevant)

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Goal-Directed Health Care

The current medical paradigm involves identifying abnormalities and trying to correct them. The hope is that by doing so, health goals (prevention of premature death and disability, enhancement of quality of life, optimal growth and development, a good death) will be achieved. Better outcomes at lower cost can very probably be achieved by focusing more directly on the goals and prioritizing strategies based upon their ...more »

Submitted by (@jimmold)

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The Gap in Evidence-Based Medicine? It's the Economics...(or What Are We Getting for Our Money?)

We all know our health system is utterly broken. In my opinion, the system was designed that way--we develop diagnostic tools and treatments, and then test them with a low threshold for approval before the marketing takes over. There is no incentive for comparative testing, very little integrated consideration of cost, and little display of thorough public research data. We need to start over. We need to create a ...more »

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Pioneer Pitch Day

Quality Improvement training in all healthcare professional education

It’s time to make quality improvement (QI) an integral part of medical culture. Let’s unite the disciplines of medicine and QI to empower providers early on in their training to both provide excellent care and advocate for high-quality, cost-efficient care at a systems level. Health improvement advocates have long applied QI methods to achieve the triple aim of better health, better care, and lower costs. Yet many providers ...more »

Submitted by (@mmcpherson)

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