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NPR Health

What If Our Health Care System Kept Us Healthy?

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solving It.

About Rebecca Onie's TED Talk

Health advocate Rebecca Onie describes how our health care system can be restructured to prevent — and not just treat — illness.

About Rebecca Onie

I believe that at the end of the day, when we measure our health care, it will not be by the diseases cured, but by the diseases prevented.

In 1996, college sophomore Rebecca Onie had a realization: The U.S. health care system was not set up to diagnose or treat the 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 she co-founded Health Leads, a program that uses a corp of trained college students to assist low-income patients 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. In 2009, Onie was awarded a MacArthur fellowship.

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