Health Leads

Health Leads

Connecting patients and their families with the resources they need to be healthy – beyond medicine

Health Leads envisions a healthcare system that addresses basic resource needs as a standard part of patient care. By providing a transformative experience for hundreds of college volunteers, Health Leads is producing a pipeline of new leaders with both the conviction and ability to champion a new model of healthcare delivery. Health Leads mobilizes college volunteers to connect patients and their families with the basic resources they need to be healthy. With Health Leads, doctors can “prescribe” resources such as food, housing and heating assistance – just as they do medication. Patients take their prescriptions to the clinic waiting room, where volunteers help “fill” them by connecting patients to community services.

Health Leads represents an innovative yet practical approach to removing social barriers to good health. By addressing patients’ non-medical needs as part of health care delivery, Health Leads helps change the circumstances affecting the lives of vulnerable people. With RWJF support, Health Leads is building capacity to spread its model for addressing the social factors that contribute to people’s health, reaching more patients in more cities across the country.


Health Leads National

2 Oliver Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02109

(617) 391-3633

Research Documents

Health Care's Blind Side

Four in five physicians say patients’ social needs are as important to address as their medical conditions, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For physicians serving patients in low-income communities, nine in ten physicians believe this is true.

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Quick Facts From This Study

A physician in scrubs reviewing paperwork
  • Eighty-five percent say that patients' social needs are as important to address as their medical conditions.
  • Eighty-seven percent indicated the problems created by unmet social needs are problems for everyone, not only for those in low-income communities.


Health Leads

Health Leads is working to integrate social needs into health care delivery.

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6 cities. 21 sites. 1,000 volunteers. 9,000 patients.*

*Health Leads

In the news

Connecting Families to Healthier Living

April 9, 2014 – Carlos Aramayo, a student at Brown University, describes his positive experience working with Health Leads last summer.

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What To Do When Healthcare Isn’t Enough

April 3, 2014 – Health Leads is recognized as a program that’s moving healthcare into the world of social services.

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6 Ways To Fix Health Care

April 1, 2014 – Health Leads is highlighted as one of six organizations that takes a new approach to health care by prescribing food, housing, and energy support to patients in clinics around the country.

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Six New Relationships Essential to Primary Care’s Continuing Existence

March 27, 2014 – Health Leads is listed as an organization that has built a new relationship with primary care doctors in the health care reform environment by connecting patients with community services.

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