Former Wired Editor Thomas Goetz Takes EIR Role At Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Thomas Goetz, the former executive editor at Wired Magazine who stepped down after more than a decade at the trailblazing tech publication late last year (weeks after the departure of longtime Wired chief editor Chris Anderson), will announce today that he has taken on two new roles — keeping one foot in journalism, and one foot out the door.

Goetz will assume an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) role at the health-focused philanthropic organization Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He’ll also be joining the TheAtlantic.com as a blog correspondent focused on “big ideas in technology and healthcare.” His first post for the Atlantic went up today.

As far as the EIR role, in a personal blog post to be published today announcing the news, Goetz says that he will spend much of his time working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer program. He explained:

“Here in Silicon Valley, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are typically affiliated with venture capital firms, working to evaluate portfolio investments and hatch new companies. At best, they’re interim positions that end up producing something exceptional. My role with the RWJF is modeled on those posts, with a few differences befitting a non-profit foundation rather than a VC firm.”

He elaborated a bit in a comment to TechCrunch, saying:

“Over the past couple months, I’ve been talking to many EiRs in the Valley about what they do, and it seemed like an great role to bring to RWJF. I’m confident some amazing projects, hopefully TechCrunch worthy, will come of it!”

Goetz moving more firmly into the world of next-generation healthcare after more than 15 years in journalism should actually not come as too much of a surprise to those familiar with his work. He went back to school in 2005 to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, and much of his recent reporting has focused on health and related technology — personal genomics, cancer screenings, and the like. More recently, he wrote a book about the future of healthcare called “The Decision Tree” in 2010, and his TED talk on redesigning medical data has garnered some 300,000 views.

There’s no doubt that health and healthcare are increasingly hot areas in the tech industry, and more innovation is on the way. It will certainly be exciting to see what Goetz cooks up in the future, now that his job is to both write about newsworthy products and initiatives, and create them himself.