Vikas Saini, MD
Conference Co-Director, and Lown Foundation President
Dr. SainiDr. Saini joined the Lown Group in 1987 before leaving to co-found Aspect Medical Systems, the pioneer and world leader of consciousness monitoring technologies in the operating room and critical care setting. There he served on the Board of Directors and was the first Vice-President for Research. He organized the company’s initial clinical research trials and helped secure early rounds of angel and venture capital investments before returning to the practice of cardiology. Aspect Medical made its initial public offering in 2000 and was acquired by Covidien in 2009.

He was a founding partner of The Cardiovascular Specialists, which became the dominant cardiovascular practice on Cape Cod. He also founded and was Chairman of Cape Physicians, LLC, a primary care physician network participating in insurance risk contracts which has remained financially successful since its founding. He continued to lead the organization after its merger with Primary Care, LLC (now New England Quality Care Alliance), where he served as Vice-President and led efforts to create a web-enabled claims data warehouse.

Dr. Saini left private practice on Cape Cod in 2007 to return to the Lown Cardiovascular Group and Lown Foundation. Dr. Saini is Board-certified in Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology and is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and a Research Associate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. His interests include nutritional and preventive cardiology, technology applications for medicine, the biology of aging, and global health. Dr. Saini writes a monthly column for Prevention India magazine. He gives frequent talks to lay audiences in the Boston area.

Shannon Brownlee, MS
Conference Co-Director, and Acting Director of the New America Foundation Health Policy Program
Shannon BrownleeMs. Brownlee is a nationally known writer and essayist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Slate, Time, Washington Monthly, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the British medical journal BMJ among many other publications, she is best known for her groundbreaking work on avoidable health care, the patchy quality of medical evidence, and the implications for health care policy. Her book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, was named the best economics book of 2007 by New York Times economics correspondent David Leonhardt. Brownlee’s current research and writing focus on issues surrounding delivery system reform, clinical evidence, and health care costs.

A former senior writer and editor at U.S. News & World Report, Brownlee lectures regularly at universities, medical schools, and in public venues, including the University of California, Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Duke University, the National Quality Forum, and Kaiser Permanente, among many others. Her work has been given numerous journalism awards, among them the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, the 2010 American Society of Journalists and Authors June Roth Award for Medical Journalism, and the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. Overtreated was a semi-finalist for the National Book Award.

Brownlee holds a master’s degree in marine science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was named one of the 45 most influential graduates of the university in 2010, the 45th anniversary of the campus’ founding. In 2009 she was named one of four writers who changed the world by the World Federation of Science Journalists. She was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, and is currently a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of Science Writers. She serves as an instructor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar.


LCRF logo

Conference Organizer
The Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation was founded by Dr. Bernard Lown in 1973 and is a recognized leader in promoting cardiovascular health globally. Through education and outreach, the Foundation promotes a rational, humane, and cost-effective model of treatment that advocates prevention over costly, invasive treatments. The Foundation is affiliated with and conducts research on the treatment model practiced by The Lown Cardiovascular Center, which employs a noninvasive style of care. Physicians in the practice emphasize prevention and hands-on, patient-focused care, while nurturing the bonds of trust and compassion between doctor and patient. The Center is especially known for providing second and even third opinions on the need for heart catheterization, angioplasty, or surgery.

The Foundation researches and documents the outcomes engendered by this health care model. The Foundation’s efforts are guided by the following principles: patient centered approach to cardiac care – doing more for the patient, while doing less to the patient; prevention and education as essential to the promotion of heart health; and dissemination of timely, cost-effective, and relevant clinical information locally and globally.

Recently, the Foundation has expanded its mission to address issues facing the delivery of health care in general, particularly that of avoidable care. Because of its long advocacy of a non-invasive approach to cardiology, the Foundation is well-positioned to serve as a leading voice on the issue of overtreatment. Its work extends beyond Boston through its global outreach program, ProCor, a network that disseminates health information to isolated areas of developing countries.

For more information about the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation:


NAF logo

Conference Organizer
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

New America emphasizes work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st Century information-age economy — an era shaped by transforming innovation and wealth creation, but also by shortened job tenures, longer life spans, mobile capital, financial imbalances and rising inequality.

The foundation’s mission is animated by the American ideal that each generation will live better than the last. That ideal is today under strain. Our education and health care systems are struggling with problems of quality, cost and access. The country requires creative means to address its fiscal challenges and pay for needed public, social and environmental investments. Abroad, the United States has yet to fashion sustainable foreign and defense policies that will protect its citizens and interests in a rapidly integrating world.

Too often, these challenges have proven impervious to conventional party politics and incremental proposals. With an emphasis on big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions, New America invests in outstanding individuals whose ability to communicate to wide and influential audiences can change the country’s policy discourse in critical areas, bringing promising new ideas and debates to the fore.

For more information about the New America Foundation:


IOM logo



Conference Co-Host
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public.

Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Nearly 150 years later, the National Academy of Sciences has expanded into what is collectively known as the National Academies, which comprises the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Research Council, and the IOM.

For more information about the IOM:

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