Health Leads (formerly known as Project Health) envisions a healthcare system that addresses all patients’ basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care. Health Leads’ mission is to catalyze this healthcare system by connecting patients with the basic resources they need to be healthy, and in doing so build leaders with the conviction and ability to champion quality care for all patients. Health Leads enables doctors and other healthcare providers to prescribe basic resources like food and heat just as they do medication and refer patients to our services just as they do any other specialty, and recruits and train college students to fill these prescriptions by working side by side with patients to connect them with the basic resources they need to be healthy. Health Leads works in six US cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, and Washington, DC. Health Leads Boston, the oldest and largest site, has been working with families since 1996.
Health Leads Boston recruits and trains college students from Harvard, Boston University, and University of Massachusetts-Boston to staff the Health Leads Desks in the clinics where we work. Students volunteer their time as Health Leads Advocates, working side by side with patients to connect them with community resources such as local food pantries and utilities assistance programs. They work across a variety of clinic populations in Boston, serving patients from pre-natal care to geriatrics, providing service in over 12 different languages ranging from Haitian Creole to Spanish. In 2012, Health Leads Boston mobilized over 200 college students who volunteered time in clinics equivalent to that of 20 full-time employees.