Shannon Brownlee

Senior Vice President

Shannon Brownlee

Shannon Brownlee, MSc, is senior vice president of the Lown Institute. She and Lown Institute president Dr. Vikas Saini are co-founders of the Right Care Alliance, a network of activist patients, clinicians, and community leaders devoted to organizing a broad-based movement for a radically better health care system. Before joining the Lown Institute, Brownlee served as acting director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation. As a senior fellow at New America, she published the groundbreaking book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, which was named the best economics book of 2007 by the New York Times.

She was a senior writer at US News and World Report and Discover Magazine, and 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. She is the author of several peer-reviewed articles in medical journals, including a 2017 four-part series on overuse and underuse in The Lancet. She has served on numerous scientific panels, working groups, and roundtables. From 2014-16 she was an editor of the “Less is More” section of JAMA Internal Medicine, and was a lecturer from 2011-14 at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Her stories and essays have appeared in such publications as The AtlanticNew York Times MagazineThe Washington PostTimes of LondonTimeNew RepublicLos Angeles Times, and Health Affairs. Brownlee is a nationally recognized speaker, has been featured in documentary films, and has appeared on such broadcast outlets as the ABC World News, Good Morning America, Fox News, NPR, and the Diane Rehm Show. She is quoted regularly in the press.

Brownlee was formerly a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is currently a lecturer in the Department of Policy and Management at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She is a member of the board of the Robert Graham Center of the American Academy of Family Practice and holds a master of science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Speaking engagements


Responsible Health Journalism Workshop Leader
Knight Science Journalism & Kavli Foundation Science Editing Workshop (New Orleans,LA) – September 2019

Faculty 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Delirium Society 
(Boston MA) – June 2019

Resident Elective in Health Policy Lecture: Protecting Patients from Overuse
Kaiser Permanente (Los Angeles, CA) – May 2019

Moderator of panel on: Delivery of Patient-Centered Care in the U.S. Healthcare System
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and AcademyHealth Meeting (Washington DC)  – May 2-3, 2019

Residency Fellowship in Health Policy Lecture: Protecting Patients from Overuse
George Washington University Milken School of Public Health (Washington DC)  – February 27, 2019


ORBITA in Context: Understanding the De-adoption of Medical Treatments
Yale University (New Haven, CT) – May 31, 2018

Resident Elective in Health Policy Lecture: Protecting Patients from Overuse
Kaiser Permanente (Los Angeles, CA ) – May 2018 

When Access Should Be Limited: Combatting Waste and Overutilization in US Healthcare
Yale Healthcare Conference (New Haven, Connecticut) – April 13, 2018

Overuse and Public Policy
George Washington University (Washington DC)  – March 28, 2018

Low-Value Care: It’s Not Just About the Money
Rhodes Island Business Group on Health (Providence, RI) – March 2, 2018


Making Patients Participants: People Power Outside the Clinic
Society for Participatory Medicine (Boston, MA) – October 25, 2017

Is Our Health Care Sytem Fixable or Dysfunctional Beyond Repair?
Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (Rochester, NY) – September 2017

Overuse: How Do We Get to the Right Care?
Institute for Healthcare Innovation – July, 2017

Not Too Much or Too Little: Nurse Practitioners as Champions for the Right Care
Maine Nurse Practitioner Association (Linconville, ME) – April 27, 2017

The Media on the 2016 Election and What’s Next for Health Policy (Plenary Chair)
AcademyHealth (Washington, DC) – January 30, 2017

Shannon Brownlee in the news

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