Our Story

ReThink Health is grounded in the earliest thinking of the Rippel Foundation’s first President, Julius A. Rippel, who as far back as 1959 raised concerns about our unsustainable healthcare system and the need for new ways of thinking and acting to keep people healthy and health care affordable. Building on this deep legacy, in 2007, the Rippel Foundation sought to understand what barriers stand in the way of creating an optimal health system—one that bridges health and care in ways that improve people’s health; assure access to quality care; and enhance equity, productivity, and community vitality—and how it might foster the conditions that will lead to and sustain change.

For two years, Rippel convened a group of extraordinary leaders—the ReThink Health Pioneers—which included some of the nation’s most prestigious healthcare leaders, as well as a diverse group of experts and change agents from economics, politics, business, and energy. ReThink Health is the creation of this group, embracing their best ideas for leading and understanding change and bringing them to health. ReThink Health remains committed to the principles established by the Pioneers:

  • The goals of the system must simultaneously embrace better health, better care, and lower costs achieved in a way that fosters equity and economic prosperity.
  • These goals will only be achieved by leaders thinking and acting systemically, and working together across organizational boundaries.
  • Fundamental and transformational system redesign is needed to meet health needs at the lowest possible cost; incremental change is insufficient.
  • Health and health care are primarily local, and system-wide national impact will largely come from local action.

Through partnerships with regional leaders and peer organizations, and leadership provided by the protégés of many of the ReThink Health Pioneers, ReThink Health has grown and evolved considerably since its launch in 2007. Experience with more than 30 communities across the country and a dozen leading academic institutions has helped guide our work and enables us to partner with communities to accelerate regional change.

Read more about the wide range of theories and approaches that have influenced our thinking.