PRESS RELEASE: Shannon Brownlee steps down from Lown Institute, helped guide health care think tank into new era

BROOKLINE, MA — The Lown Institute announced today that Shannon Brownlee will be stepping down from her leadership role as senior vice president effective April 1 in order to pursue writing and artistic endeavors. She will remain affiliated with the organization as special advisor to the president, providing strategic guidance and support to the think tank as it prepares to launch the 2021 edition of its hospital index.

“Being a part of the Lown Institute leadership has truly been one of the most rewarding times of my professional career,” said Brownlee. “I’m proud to have helped the organization become a force for change in the health care landscape, and I’m excited to see what comes next.”

The Lown Institute was founded in 1973 by renowned physician, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate Dr. Bernard Lown. Brownlee joined in 2013 and played a key role in expanding the organization’s work as a think tank addressing issues of health care value, accountability, and equity. Working closely with the president, Dr. Vikas Saini, Brownlee and the Institute put on the first major medical meeting on the problem of overtreatment, published a series of papers in The Lancet on overuse and underuse around the world, and created a roadmap for eliminating harmful polypharmacy in America. Brownlee also helped guide the conceptualization and development of the Lown Institute Hospitals Index, a groundbreaking project that assesses the social responsibility of hospitals, including measures of racial inclusivity, avoidance of overuse, and pay equity.

“Shannon has been a great partner and played a principal role in everything the Institute has achieved over the last eight years,” said Dr. Saini. “She is an exceptional writer and thinker who has rightly earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on the topic of medical overuse.”

Prior to joining the Lown Institute, Brownlee served as acting director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation. She is the author of the groundbreaking book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, named the best economics book of 2007 by the New York Times. Brownlee is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Congressional Commendation, and was named one of “four writers who changed the world” by the World Congress of Science Journalists.

About the Lown Institute

Founded in 1973 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bernard Lown, MD, developer of the defibrillator and cardioverter, the Lown Institute advances civic leadership, accountability, and value in health care. The Institute believes a radically better system of health is possible and generates bold ideas to that aim. The Lown Hospitals Index, a signature project, is the first hospital ranking focused on civic leadership and includes measures like inclusivity by race, avoidance of overuse, and pay equity.


Aaron Toleos, VP Communications,, (617) 992-9349