In 1996, during her sophomore year of college, Rebecca Onie had a realization: The health care system in the U.S. was not set up to diagnose or treat socioeconomic issues that lead to poor health, and that health care providers are not given tools to address basic problems like nutrition and housing. So, while still a sophomore, Onie co-founded Health Leads, a program that assists low-income patients and their families to access food, heat and other basic resources they need to be healthy. The program now operates in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence and Washington, D.C., and assisted over 8,800 patients in the last year. “At the end of the day, when we measure our healthcare, it will not be by the diseases cured, but by the diseases prevented,” she said.
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