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Rebecca D. Onie

Rebecca Onie, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Emerita, has been an entrepreneur since her sophomore year at Harvard College. She Co-Founded Health Leads with Barry Zuckerman, the Chair of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center in 1996. After attending Harvard Law School, where she served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review and Research Assistant for Laurence Tribe and Lani Guinier, Rebecca clerked for Diane P. Wood of the United States District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Onie returned to Health Leads, which enables doctors to prescribe food, housing, job training or other resources for their patients, as Chief Executive Officer in February 2006 and in 2009, she received a MacArthur Fellowship. She is also a United States Ashoka Fellow, is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization and a member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation External Advisory Council.

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Health Leads
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North America, USA

Health Leads

Health Leads envisions a healthcare system that addresses all patients' basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care. Its mission is to catalyse the healthcare system by connecting patients with the basic resources they need to be healthy, and in doing so, build leaders with the conviction and ability to champion quality care for all patients.

The Health Leads approach is straightforward, yet innovative in its cost-effectiveness and scalability – by enabling healthcare providers to "prescribe" food, utilities or other critical resources, just as they would medication. Patients take these prescriptions to the clinic waiting room where Health Leads Advocates work side-by-side with the patients to connect them with the prescribed resources. To keep organizational costs low, Health Leads has tapped into an innovative labour supply: college students who work as patient advocates. By using college students, the model echoes the lay health worker model used by leaders in the global health community in providing a solution to clinics’ infrastructure deficits.


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