M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Alexandra Schweitzer

How Value Chain Thinking Strengthens Programs to Address Social Determinants of Health 

Tuesday, April 27, 4:30-5:30PM 
View the webinar HERE

What is value chain thinking and how can it strengthen programs to address social determinants of health (SDOH)?

Social barriers like unstable housing, inadequate nutrition, social isolation, and lack of transportation are known to be bad for people’s health.  Programs to address health-related social needs at the individual level are proliferating.

“Value chain thinking” improves the impact of SDOH programs.  This framework for design and evaluation helps implementers:

  • create value for participants and partners
  • build an operating model that connects social barriers and health outcomes
  • engage participants and partners so the right people get the right services at the right time in the right place to meet their social needs. 

If successful, investments in social services will lead to reductions in health care utilization and cost. To be sustainable, these programs must find a way to capture some of the health care savings and redeploy them to fund the provision of social services.

None of this is easy, and it’s challenging to achieve and demonstrate credible results. What can we learn from the programs that have done so?  This study group will present some answers.

The FOODRx program in Minnesota and the Right Care, Right Place, Right Time (R3) program in Eastern Massachusetts offer valuable, replicable lessons for health care organizations (HCOs). Both programs set out to create sustainable, successful partnerships between community partners and health care organizations, including health plans, other payors, and providers. 


  • Alexandra Schweitzer, Senior Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School


  • Kim Brooks, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Living, Hebrew SeniorLife
  • Alexandra DeKesel Lofthus, Senior Community Engagement Manager, Unite Us (Former Director of Healthcare Partnership, Second Harvest Heartland (FOODRx))

Alexandra Schweitzer headshot photoAlexandra Schweitzer is expert at leading complex new ventures and transformation initiatives from strategy through successful execution.  She combines entrepreneurial passion and drive with the ability to navigate through large organizations and alliances, balancing mission and business discipline.  Her systems perspective is grounded in deep senior leadership experience as a P&L owner, a product portfolio manager, a client services executive, and the head of departments and teams with multi-million-dollar budgets.  Her health care sector experience spans payers, providers, state government, and specialized analytics and managed care organizations. Population health strategist and builder:  Alexandra has built and led value-based integrated systems of care, including tools to address social determinants of health, in innovative accountable care and provider-payer organizations, including: i) A “partnership model” Medicaid ACO under the new Massachusetts delivery system reform program; ii) Iora Health, a venture capital-backed startup nationally known for its relationship-driven, technology-enabled care model, predominantly for Medicare Advantage members; and iii) The Tufts Health Plan Senior Care Options (SCO) program for dual eligible seniors, which she built and ran.  Practical strategic planner:  As a business leader, a consultant, and a hands-on not-for-profit board member, Alexandra has led the development of numerous mission-critical strategic plans.  She emphasizes broad input from stakeholders, alignment of mission and financial goals, and a strong focus on execution to achieve results. Innovative board leader:  Alexandra is the Board President of Goddard House, an assisted living residence in Brookline, MA, where she is driving a major organizational transformation to develop innovative programs serving isolated seniors in the Greater Boston community.  As a LeadingAge board member, she initiated and led a cross-sector workgroup to promote tightly-integrated programs using affordable senior housing as a platform for health.  She was the Board Vice Chair of the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston and led their strategic planning committee. Alexandra has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University.  A lifelong learner, she has completed an executive MBA at Columbia University and certificates in strategic selling, large account management, and project management. Her research project as a senior fellow is entitled, Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Why Some Initiatives Thrive and Others Don’t. Her faculty sponsor is Dutch Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School, and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Email: aschweitzer@hks.harvard.edu