So O'Neil

So O'Neil

Director, Health Philanthropy Portfolio
  • Public Health
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Health Disparities and Health Equity
  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Community-Based Public Health Program Evaluation
  • Measurement and Evaluation Technical Assistance
Focus Areas
  • Health
  • Health Information Technology and Analytics
  • Population Health
  • State Health Policy
About So

So O’Neil is committed to evaluating, assessing, and improving programs that address community health, maternal and child health, reproductive and population health, and health disparities around the world. A first-generation immigrant who has lived experience of social inequity, O’Neil understands the importance of applying a health equity lens in her research, particularly regarding social determinants of health. She has worked extensively with community-based organizations, state agencies, and community health centers and brings a participatory approach to complex mixed-methods evaluations. O’Neil’s service as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Africa was influential in her recognizing the importance of systems and policy change as foundational to improving health outcomes.

O’Neil, who directs Mathematica’s health research portfolio for foundations, has extensive experience helping government and philanthropic institutions design and implement key initiatives. She leads the evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Data Across Sectors for Health, an initiative to empower communities’ use of multi-sector data to identify and address social determinants of health for health improvement. She also collaborates with the Rockefeller Foundation in the early-stage development of its data-driven community health initiative. At the state level, O’Neil led a project to inform the design of the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Right Time initiative, which aims to improve access to comprehensive contraceptive options. She currently leads the ongoing evaluation for this initiative.

Her international health work includes documenting the contribution and legacy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Maternal Health Quality of Care Strategy in India. She also leads the Mathematica team that serves as the verification partner for the world’s first health development impact bond, which employs a pay-for-success financing mechanism as a means to improve private facilities’ maternity care quality.

O'Neil has published in the American Journal of Preventive MedicineMaternal and Child Health JournalPreventing Chronic Disease, and the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. She has presented at a variety of professional association conferences, including the American Evaluation Association, American Public Health Association, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, and Core Group Global Health Practitioners. She holds an M.S. in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Key Projects
  • WISEWOMAN Evaluation and Technical Assistance

    We are leading technical assistance and evaluation activities for this program that provides low-income, underinsured, and uninsured women ages 40 to 64 with health services to support prevention, management, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

  • Evaluation Design for a Transformed Healthy Start Program

    Mathematica developed an evaluation design and plan for the transformed Healthy Start Program, an initiative that aims to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality. The data collection tools we developed included program surveys, a site visit protocol, and a focus group protocol.

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