Dawn LaForce O’Neill, Vice President, Population Health, Saint Agnes Healthcare, Baltimore, was included in Becker’s Hospital Review’s recent list of 32 chief population health officers to know for 2019 from hospitals and health systems across the country.

The recognition features population health officers who lead initiatives for their organizations focused on improving the health and wellness in their communities. Many of these efforts have served as models for other organizations nationwide, effectively working with at-risk populations to reduce preventable disease, manage chronic illness and overcome negative social determinants of healthcare.

Dawn leads Saint Agnes Healthcare’s Health Institute, which focuses on innovative care delivery for vulnerable patients, expanding access to behavioral health services and community engagement. By integrating chronic disease and community programs with new initiatives and innovative health models, she seeks to positively impact the health of the community, reduce health disparities and bring down healthcare costs.

In 2018, the Health Institute initiated several innovative programs and strategies to impact population health and engage the Southwest Baltimore community outside the hospital setting on specific health issues or disparities. In under one year, the Health Institute team grew by nearly 20 new associates and has successfully implemented an initial strategic plan. The work is backed by an emphasis on the social determinants of health – conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play – such as access to housing, education and jobs. Dawn strongly believes that community engagement is critical to the development of health programs, and she and her team started Saint Agnes’s first-ever Community Council to ensure that the services at Saint Agnes represent the diverse values of the community it serves.