So O'Neil

So O'Neil

Director, Health Philanthropy Portfolio
Pronouns: she/her
Expertise
  • Public health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Health equity
  • Health promotion
  • Community-based public health program evaluation
  • Measurement and evaluation technical assistance
Focus Areas
  • Health
  • Health Information Technology and Analytics
  • Population Health
About So

So O’Neil has dedicated her more than two-decade career to reducing health disparities and promoting health equity for mothers, children, and their families regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, and other visible and invisible characteristics. She currently directs Mathematica’s domestic health philanthropy portfolio, which has supported work for more than 50 philanthropic institutions, nonprofits, and professional associations to design, implement, and evaluate key initiatives. O’Neil partners with clients and Mathematica staff to develop and implement projects that generate evidence and translate it into action for social good. She has worked extensively with domestic and international community-based organizations and local government agencies to bring a participatory approach to strategy development and complex mixed-methods research. Her experience as a first-generation immigrant and service as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Africa helped her recognize the importance of centering equity in her work and understand that systems and policy change are foundational to improving well-being.

Much of O’Neil’s work focuses on harnessing the power of data and analytics to advance public health and health equity. She serves as principal investigator for the evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Transforming Public Health Data Systems initiative, which seeks to shift the narrative around public health data, develop proof of concepts for data governance and cross-sector data sharing, and empower communities’ use of data to enhance their well-being. She collaborates with The Rockefeller Foundation to support evaluation and learning for its Equity-First Vaccine Initiative, Global Vaccine Initiative, and Pandemic Prevention Institute. At the state level, O’Neil led a project to inform the design of the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Right Time initiative, which strives 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 led the Mathematica team that served as the verification partner for the world’s first health development impact bond, which employs a pay-for-success financing mechanism to improve the quality of maternity care in private facilities.

O'Neil has published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, PLOS ONE, Digital Health, Maternal and Child Health Journal, Preventing 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 Practitioner conferences. 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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