Thought Leader, Care Redesign

Rebecca Onie, JD

Co-Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer
Health Leads


In 1996, Rebecca Onie co-founded Health Leads to address the fundamental drivers of patients’ health. With its hospital, community health center, and integrated delivery system partners, Health Leads has enabled physicians and other health care providers across the U.S. to “prescribe” food, electricity, and other basic resources their patients need to be healthy — and armed a variety of workforces to “fill” those social needs prescriptions by working side-by-side with patients to access the existing landscape of community resources.

Health Leads arms health care institutions with the tools, technology, analytics, best practices, and peer community necessary to address their own patients’ resource needs and to champion a health care system that addresses all patients’ basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care. In 2015, Health Leads directly served over 14,000 patients and their families, touching nearly 50,000 total lives.

In 2009, Rebecca was honored to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. She has also been recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2012 Young Leader Award; Network for Excellence in Health Innovation’s 2014 “Innovators in Health” Award; Forbes Magazine’s Impact 30, recognizing the world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs; and the Schwab Foundation’s 2013 Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Rebecca is one of the Aspen Institute’s inaugural Health Innovator Fellows; a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; a member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation External Advisory Council; and a One Acre Fund board member.

She received her JD from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She previously clerked for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and was an associate at Miner, Barnhill & Galland P.C., a civil rights and community economic development firm.

A Business Case for Health Equity Panel Clip Still

Care Redesign

A Business Case for Health Equity

Making the assessment of nonmedical social needs and referral to those needs a standard of care so that it becomes part of the quality equation of an organization, just like any other quality or safety standard.

Depolarizing the Social Determinants of Health - Healthy Communities Shared Nomenclature Panel Clip Still

Care Redesign

Depolarizing the Social Determinants of Health

How do we align on a shared set of nomenclature and articulate a broad coalition around what health actually means?

Why Don’t We Deliver the Unified Health We Know We Should? Rebecca Onie Talk Still Health Leads Health Equity Social Needs

Care Redesign

Why Don’t We Deliver the Health We Should?

We’ve created a health care system where asking a patient “Are you hungry?” is so far outside the boundaries of what counts as health care that we fail or forget to ask altogether.

Shifting the Conversation to Whole-Person Health Care Panel Clip Still

Care Redesign

Shifting the Conversation to Whole-Person Health

If we can’t articulate where we should be in 10 years, we won’t achieve our goals.

Care Redesign

Population Health: The Ghost Aim

We are finally at a moment in the history of health care when we know what to do to achieve better health, who should do it, and how to get it done.

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