Rebecca Onie

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Rebecca Onie
Born 1977
Alma mater Harvard College, Harvard Law School
Awards MacArthur Fellowship
Scientific career
Institutions Health Leads

Rebecca Onie (born 1977) is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health Leads.[1]


In 1996, during her sophomore year at Harvard College, Rebecca Onie founded Health Leads (formerly Project HEALTH) with Dr. Barry Zuckerman, Chair of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. As Executive Director of Health Leads, Onie oversaw the organization's growth to Providence and New York City.

After attending Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and research assistant for Professors Laurence Tribe and Lani Guinier, Onie clerked for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She was also an associate at Miner, Barnhill & Galland P.C., a boutique law firm in Chicago, where she represented civil rights plaintiffs, health centers, affordable housing developers, and nonprofits.

During this time, Onie served as founding Co-Chair of Health Leads' Board of Directors. She returned to Health Leads as CEO in February 2006.

In 2009, she received a MacArthur Fellowship, for "individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." O! Magazine named her to its 2010 Power List of twenty women who are "changing the world for the better."

In 2012, Onie spoke at TEDMED on the devastating impact of poverty on health. Entitled "Can We Rewrite the DNA of the Healthcare System",[2] her talk focused on Health Leads' role in helping doctors connect their low-income patients with better access to health services, interventions, food and transportation.[3]

Onie is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a U.S. Ashoka Fellow. She received the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award in 2009, honoring Americans under the age of 40 whose commitment to service is changing their communities and the country; the Jane Rainie Opel ’50 Young Alumna Award in 2008, for outstanding contributions to the advancement of women; and the Do Something Brick Award for Community Leadership in 1999, for dynamic young people under the age of thirty with the passion and drive to improve their communities.[4][5]



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