The Lown Institute awards Young Innovator Grants to address gaps in medical education

November 18, 2014  (Boston, MA)—The Lown Institute has awarded RightCare Alliance Young Innovator Grants to 11 enterprising projects that inspire junior faculty, medical and nursing students, residents and other trainees in the health professions to challenge the culture of overuse in healthcare. The Lown Institute selected the winners from 80 project applications that comprise more than 200 individuals from 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Each year in the United States, millions of patients are deprived of necessary care, while millions of others are harmed by unnecessary, ineffective, or unwanted medical treatments. The RightCare Alliance (RCA), an initiative of the Lown Institute, is a network of clinicians, patients and community leaders devoted to shifting the culture of medicine from ‘more is better’ to the right care for patients by building a grassroots movement and deploying action-oriented programs.

“The Young Innovator Grants support our ongoing work to address critical gaps in medical education,” said Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute. “These grants advance creative ways to address the root causes of overuse by teaching relationship building and compassion as the way to restore the art of healing in the practice of medicine.”

Winning projects promoted culture change in various ways, including reducing moral distress through ethics-based ICU rounds, cultivating empathy through novel experiential learning methods, developing a case-based curriculum that teaches communications and right care; minimizing overuse of medical testing in hospital transfers from rural to urban settings; and preventing primary Caesarean sections through improved decision-making and dialogue.

The grants are generously funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and recipients will receive up to $7,500 to support implementation of their projects.

Grant leaders are:

  • Sindy Byington, MD, medical resident, Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency Program
  • Hyung (Harry) Cho, MD, faculty member, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
  • Marisa L. Jennings, MD, medical resident, St. Louis University School of Medicine
  • Eric Jung, BS, medical student, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Sarah Lappin, DO, faculty member, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Nneka Mokwunye, PhD, MA, MPH faculty member, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
  • Kathryn Jane Muir, BS, BA, nursing student, University of Virginia
  • Daniel Nicklas, MD, FAAP,  faculty member, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
  • Faisal Rahman, BMBCh, BA, MA,  medical resident, Boston University Medical Center
  • Aliye Runyan, MD, medical resident, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center
  • Daniel Jarvis Wheeler, MD, medical resident, University of California, San Francisco


For a full list of team members, biographies, project descriptions, updates, and the judges, click here.

The RCA will recognize the Young Innovators at the 2015 Lown Institute annual conference, titled Road to RightCare: Engage, Organize, Transform. The conference will attract hundreds of clinicians, patient advocates and community leaders, eager to challenge the culture of overuse in medicine and advocate for health care that delivers the right care to patients, compassionately and effectively. To learn more about the conference, visit

About the Lown Institute

The Lown Institute, a nonprofit, action-driven think tank in Boston, is transforming the culture of medicine by preserving the valued relationship between the doctor and patient, advocating for patients to receive only the medical care they need and want, and removing financial incentives from clinical decision-making. The Institute was founded by renowned cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Bernard Lown, MD, and supports his vision for compassionate, effective health care delivery. Visit and follow on Twitter at @LownInstitute.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Margie Coloian
Director of Communications