Alum leads health equity for rural patients

Health care innovator Lynn Barr M.P.H. ’10 says her education at Berkeley’s School of Public Health (SPH) launched her work pursuing health equity, especially for those in rural areas.

At age 17, Barr joined the Army, where she served as a lab technician and was named Fort Hood Soldier of the Year. She then spent many years as an entrepreneur in tech startups focused on medical devices and pharmaceuticals, bringing 13 new medical products to market and launching five companies.

“I had a dream of creating a database of side effects of drugs so patients can be better informed,” Barr says. Her other dream was to attend UC Berkeley — and she couldn’t shake the feeling that it would open up doors. Her instincts were right.

Photo of Lynn Barr M.P.H. '10 in a grey dress talking to male student in an orange jacket.

Lynn Barr M.P.H. ’10 (right) speaks with a student from the School of Public Health.

Part of her work at Cal included working on a state initiative for the digital exchange of health information. That’s when she learned about healthcare disparities in rural areas and discovered that rural providers were willing to share data.

Barr went on to found Caravan Health, a company that helps rural providers deliver better care and transition from a fee-for-service to a value-based model focused on patient outcomes. The SPH recognized her last spring as one of its 75 most influential alumni. Barr has made a significant gift to honor her “priceless” time at Berkeley.

Barr now leads programs that have improved care for one million Medicare patients, and her dream of a database is coming together: Caravan Health has the largest patient database with claims histories and health records — and it’s growing every year.