Richard Saul Wurman, with the publication of his first book at the age of 26, began the singular passion of his life: making information understandable. In his best-selling book, Information Anxiety, in 1989 (& then again in 2000 with Information Anxiety2), RSW developed an overview of the motivating principles found in his previous works. Each of his 80-some books focuses on some subject or idea that he personally had difficulty understanding. They all stem from his desire to know rather than from already knowing; from his ignorance rather than his intelligence; from his inability rather than his ability. RSW has received both M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1959 graduating with highest honors & the Arthur Spayd Brookes Gold Medal. He established a deep personal & professional relationship with the architect Louis I. Kahn. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). He has been awarded several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Graham Fellowships & two Chandler Fellowships. In 1991, RSW received the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT for his creation of the ACCESS travel guides & was honored by a retrospective exhibition of his work at the AXIS Design Gallery in Tokyo, Japan on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary. He received the Chrysler Design Award, a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Art Center College of Design & an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston. In 2003, he
was inducted into the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. He chaired the International Design in Aspen in 1972, the first Federal Design Assembly in 1973 & the National AIA Convention in 1976 before creating & chairing TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) Conferences from 1984-2002. He continues chairing TEDMED Conferences. RSW & his wife, novelist & lyricist Gloria Nagy, have four children & five grandchildren. They live in Newport, RI with Max & Abraham (their dogs).

David Lansky is the President of FACCT– Foundation for Accountability, a non-profit group that provided collaboration & fact checking for this book. For more than 20 years, Dr. Lansky has advocated for a more responsive & accountable healthcare system. As an expert in quality measurement & healthcare accountability, he is a sought after speaker nationally & internationally. His inspirational vision of what healthcare can be for consumers inspires national leaders & policymakers to look at new methods of improving the US healthcare system. Lansky has served as a board member or advisor to numerous healthcare projects & programs, including the National Quality Forum, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the National Patient Safety Foundation, The Leapfrog Group & President Bush's 2002 Economic Summit. Prior to FACCT, Lansky was a senior policy analyst for the Jackson Hole Group during the national healthcare reform debate of 1993-94. He also led the Center for Outcomes Research & Education at Oregon-based Providence Health System.

Loren Barnett Appel has assisted RSW on 11 of his last publications including four focusing on healthcare, two on financial issues, the critically acclaimed Understanding USA & Understanding Children.
Loren has served as director for TOP contributing as production manager, researcher, writer & information architect. Her unique skills have meshed with the method of producing TOP books using a virtual office to manage the activities of many of the best information architects in the US. Loren has lived & worked in Newport, RI & now resides in Annapolis, MD with her husband James & daughter Helen.


Explanation Graphics

Nigel Holmes

A fellow information architect whose work & contributions to the field cannot be overestimated from his ground-breaking 16 years at TIME to being a key team member of many of RSW's recent publications including, Understanding USA, Diagnostic Tests for Men and Women & Understanding Children. This is his seventh book project with RSW.

   staff: Sharon Stea


Kit Hinrichs, partner Pentagram is an international design consultancy, specializing in graphic design, product design, architecture & interactive design. Powerful contributions to Understanding USA.
   staff: Belle Howe
          Takayo Muroga

Medical Broadcasting Company

Linda Holliday, president

MBC is a provider of marketing strategies and solutions for the healthcare & pharmaceutical industries. Contributed in a seminal manner to Understanding Children.
   staff: Alex vonPlato
          Anne Wren
          Maryann Porch
          Jamie Cohen
          Rob Macoviak
          Tom Mullins


Agnew Moyer Smith Inc.

John Sotirakis, principal designer

AMS is a nationally recognized design firm helping businesses untangle complex communication problems & explain important ideas by making their messages visible, understandable & accessible. Important contributions to
Understanding USA, Understanding Children &Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning.

   staff: Kurt Hess, principal illustrator
          Mary Beth Baniecki
          Bill DeRose
          Mike Duda
          Jack Kelley
          Don Moyer
          Amy Oriss
          Christina Papp
          Mimi Wlodek
          Cat Zaccardi

Ingo Fast

Ingo Fast's whimsical drawings convey the explorative spirit of a child's playful character. They can be seen in newspapers, magazines & books.

Rigsby Design

Lana Rigsby, principal

For over a decade they have been focused on helping companies and institutions communicate in ways that are clear at all scales.
   staff: Thomas Hull
          Travis Rimel
          Sara Gray

Understanding Healthcare owes its publication to the vision and commitment of Johnson & Johnson. As the world's most comprehensive and broadly based healthcare company, whose operations span the entire healthcare universe, from consumer and pharmaceutical to medical
devices and diagnostics, Johnson & Johnson is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world. Through its support of this book, Johnson & Johnson is helping to raise awareness of essential information about accessing
medical care today.

This book would not have been possible without the generous support of UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth Group, through its family of companies, is a leader in advancing, promoting and facilitating health. It is their belief that consumers should have access to trustworthy information as they make decisions to improve their health, that of their families and the communities in which they live.


Special thanks to Steve Hemsley, President and Chief Operating Officer of UnitedHealth Group, for his early recognition of the potential of this project.

As a part of its commitment to improving people's lives in the information age, the Markle Foundation focuses on using information and communications technologies to address critical public needs, particularly in the areas of healthcare and national security. The Markle Foundation's
overarching goal in the health area is to accelerate the rate at which information technology enables consumers and the health system that supports them to improve health and healthcare.