Five Things To Know About Rebecca Onie

Rebecca Onie is chief executive of Health Leads, a Boston-based nonprofit with a mission of persuading health care institutions to address food, electricity, and other basic resources that patients need to be healthy. She founded the organization more than 20 years ago, when she was a Harvard undergraduate. Onie now travels the country advocating that health systems focus on factors that really affect patient health. That means not just prescribing medications, for example, but also food. She left her organization for several years to become a lawyer, but ended up coming back in 2006. Onie, 40, received a 2009 MacArthur “genius” prize, which goes to “individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” She spoke with Globe reporter Priyanka Dayal McCluskey recently about how Health Leads grew from a campus group to a national organization, how she balances work and family, and her guilty pleasure of eating chickpeas straight from a can.


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