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Health Leads is a Boston, MA based non-profit that prescribes critical resources like food, housing, health insurance, and more to low-income patients.

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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This often seems to be the case in medicine. Doctors are the only people who can prescribe drugs, so that’s exactly what they do. Sometimes it works, but for many (most?) health problems, medication isn’t the most effective answer–especially for low income patients who have trouble paying for basic needs. What if doctors could prescribe “food, housing, health insurance, job training, fuel assistance, or other critical resources just as they do medication?” They can if they’re working in a facility affiliated with Health Leads, which is a Boston, MA based non-profit organization that currently operates in Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Providence, RI; and Washington, DC.

Be a Health Leader

Health Leads relies on college student volunteers to be their “pharmacists.” These people work in the clinic’s waiting room and “fill the prescriptions” by helping patients access available community services. What I find really impressive is that Health Leads is already doing this on a large scale. They’ve had more than 1,000 volunteers work with more than 9,000 patients (that patient to volunteer ratio seems kind of low to me). Half of the patients got a prescription that solved at least one critical need within 90 days, which is pretty amazing (that’s more effective than a lot of drug prescriptions). If Health Leads sounds like an organization that you’d want to get involved with, you have two options. You can volunteer or you can consider a job with Health Leads. While their current postings aren’t ideal for new grads because they require a decent amount of previous experience, I still think it’s worth checking out their Data Analyst (Boston, MA) and Program Manager (Chicago, IL; Washington, DC, and Providence, RI) positions.

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