CommunityHealth Partner Spotlight: Second Opinions


Aug 16



Ben, Cecil, Liz, and the CommunityHealth team

About a year ago, a few students at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine had an idea: Cecil Qiu, Liz Nguyen, and Ben Peipert (all former management consultants) wanted to use their unique background to effect change in the local health care system. The result was Second Opinions.

Second Opinions is a pro-bono consulting group founded and run by students at Feinberg. It works to improve health care outcomes for Chicago’s under-served populations by helping community health centers develop and implement actionable quality improvement plans.

“We wanted to make a difference going beyond the typical med student volunteering experience of checking vitals and performing screenings,” said Ben Peipert. “We believe we can use our unique skill set in management consulting to help health care organizations working with under-served populations on a much bigger level.”

The other purpose of Second Opinions is to develop future health care leaders by providing Feinberg medical students with hands-on experience in tackling strategic problems for health care organizations. Though they might not have prior consulting experience, students who become members of case teams learn to apply analytical thinking and resourcefulness to solving real-life problems with a client.

Last December, Second Opinions assisted CommunityHealth in developing a communications strategy to current and potential partners, focusing on our economic impact in the community. First, Second Opinions interviewed various stakeholders (including funders, hospitals, patients, and government organizations) to learn about their perspectives and priorities. Then, the team performed an extensive data analysis and calculated statistics that demonstrated the quantifiable value of CommunityHealth’s services in the Chicago health care system. Ultimately, they aimed to help CommunityHealth be more effective when engaging various community groups and stakeholders.

For example, the team found that CommunityHealth already helps reduce emergency department overuse across Chicago, saving between $7.2 and 15.6 million each year.  They also found that CommunityHealth brings over $1.6 million worth of medical volunteer services to the community each year. Much of their work was incorporated into our 2015 Annual Report.

Of the experience working on this project, Qiu said, “CommunityHealth was an excellent first client to work with. Their needs were a great match for what we could offer, and the collaborative spirit of their team was instrumental to our success.”

CommunityHealth is currently working with Second Opinions on a new project—a study to ascertain the feasibility of implementing a community health worker program. In this potential program, community health workers would provide peer-to-peer health education and care management, exclusively targeted to uninsured, immigrant populations in Chicago.

Second Opinions is always open to engaging new clients in order to help community health centers with limited resources achieve their goals and better serve their patients. For more information, view their online brochure or email the Second Opinions team at