Why are Life Discrepancies So Different Even in the Same City?

A Conversation with Katherine Merton, PhD

Katherine (Kate) Merton, Ph.D., Executive Director, Chicago ARC
Twitter: @katherinemerton

Katherine (Kate) Merton, Ph.D., is executive director of the Chicago ARC, bringing more than 20 years’ experience working in healthcare R&D and innovation. Previously, she ran Anthem’s Digital Incubator and was the Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Merton received her undergraduate degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology from King’s College London, holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of California, Irvine Medical School, and received her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Listen to the Conversation

Episode Takeaways

  1. In this episode Gil talks with Katherine Merton PhD, Executive Director of Chicago ARC, a health innovation venture collaborative focused on accelerating health equity through a unique, market-based approach that marries collaboration and innovation.
  2. The ARC idea is a novel one, combining both health investment and purpose-based thinking. The opportunity in Chicago is there. There are health equity needs and people are open to new solutions like giving money back to communities and sustainably help with healthcare needs.
  3. We often think of the health industry as being solely focused on the economics. We can’t forget that economics exist for the people, like healthcare. The main problem that Chicago ARC seeks to resolve is well-documented: different zip codes have a life discrepancy of up to thirty years, even within the same city. There’s many problems and opportunities, but closing that gap is critical.
  4. Economic return on investment in healthcare is critical, but so is societal return on investment as a measure of success. Healthcare must be a sustainable business, but we need to see societal returns before we ever see financial returns. You can do well financially by doing good at the same time, it just takes some patience and conviction.
  5. No one organization can do it alone. It’s about collaboration and information sharing so we can get results for the people who need it. There’s a need to unify health systems with a common mission to make intelligent investments in the healthcare innovations and efficiencies that can really improve people’s lives.


Gil Bashe

Managing Partner, Chair Global Health, FINN Partners
Twitter: @Gil_Bashe
LinkedIn: Gil Bashe

Gregg Masters

Founder & Managing Director, Health Innovation Media
Twitter: @GreggMastersMPH
LinkedIn: Gregg Masters, MPH

About the Show

Join digital health advocate and author Gil Bashe, on Health Unabashed, as he discusses the power of collaboration and innovation in improving care across the health ecosystem. Sharing stories and insights from a global perspective, Gil looks at the companies and people who are making a difference and offers his opinions on how to connect the dots to transform the industry for good.

On the radio weekdays at 10:30 am, 6:30 pm, & 2:30 am ET.