University Hospital's Rainbow Connects Program


University Hospital's (UH's) Rainbow Connects program integrates the clinical services of UH's physicians with a network of primary care providers; hospitals; and managed care, behavioral health and community agencies to improve the quality of healthcare for children in northeast Ohio at significantly reduced costs. Part of this work involves identifying and addressing families’ basic social needs — like food, clothing, diapers, utilities and furniture — to help them stay healthy. 

Rainbow Connects is a reboot of the hospital system’s collaboration with Health Leads, a two-year pilot initiative launched at UH in 2016, which served two small patient groups to see if helping with basic necessities would impact their health and wellbeing. The pilot reached more than 3,000 families and helped connect nearly 20 percent with needed resources.

Partner Organizations

  • The UH Rainbow Physician Extension Team
  • 120-140 primary care pediatricians from across northeast Ohio
  • Various behavioral health and community agencies

Target Population

Families at well-child pediatric visits and participants in the hospital system’s Centering Pregnancy group prenatal care visits

Care Team

Care coordinator, community outreach coordinator, student volunteers


2018 - present

Results/ Studies

Of the 867 caregivers Rainbow Connects screened between October 2018 and April 2019, 78 percent reported at least one need, with an average of four or more needs among those who said they needed help. In addition to baby supplies, the most frequently reported needs for families were food, furniture, clothing and assistance with utilities. About 30 percent of people with identified needs are successfully accessing provided resources through Rainbow Connects, an increase from the 18 percent connection rate for the UH Health Leads pilot.


Private grants


Program website

Rainbow Connects Extends University Hospitals' Commitment to Meeting Patient Needs Outside Doctor's Office (April 2019)