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Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the current President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Clinical Scholars alum, tells us that the Clinical Scholars Program helped to catapult her career.

“As a Clinical Scholar, I was encouraged to “analyze” the health care system in a new and innovative way – one that allowed me to describe health care beyond the clinical realm.”

Lavizzo-Mourey earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.  After completing a residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey applied to be a Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Accepted, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey chose to focus her research largely on long-term care. Her interest in this and its relation to health policy continued with her throughout her career.

As a leader in academic medicine and government service, as well as an agent for wide-scale social change, Lavizzo-Mourey went on to study Geriatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her career is impressive. She was a Sylvan Eisman Professor of medicine and health care systems and director of Penn’s Institute on Aging. Following Penn, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey went to Washington, D.C., where she was deputy administrator of what is now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. 

A member of the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey admits that one of the biggest values that the Clinical Scholars Program brought to her career was the network of mentors she was surrounded by. “The Clinical Scholars Program gave me a network of mentors and an environment of true collaboration. It was exceptional”

In addition, Lavizzo-Mourey says that her experience in the Program, taught her “how to create a career that allowed me to do policy work in an academic medical setting.” Although President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey still finds time to treat patients at a community health clinic in New Brunswick, N.J. 

When asked if Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey would recommend the Program, her answer was of course, yes. “I would absolutely recommend The Clinical Scholars Program,” Lavizzo-Mourey tells us. “For anyone who wants to be a catalyst for change in the health and health care of our country, the Clinical Scholars Program is an excellent opportunity to do so.”

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