Heather Onuma-Brennan, M.P.H., is a senior researcher at L&M Policy Research, bringing twenty years of experience conducting public health research, planning, and health communications projects, with a primary focus on underserved populations. Ms. Onuma-Brennan is skilled at directing fast-paced, complex, team-based qualitative research projects, while contributing thoughtful, creative energy and strategies to meet client needs and ensure representative samples of hard-to-reach populations. Her work touches a diverse set of health policies, health communications, and patient and provider audiences.
Ms. Onuma-Brennan’s research in a variety of areas has focused on understanding how to address disparities in health. Ms. Onuma-Brennan recently developed a stakeholder engagement plan and associated materials to support organizational strategies to address health disparities, including development of an online calculator to build a business case for investing in health equity. At the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which has magnified the need to address racial and ethnic health disparities, she assessed uninsured individuals’ perceptions of HealthCare.gov and audience needs within the context of the pandemic, supporting recruitment, moderation, data analysis and reporting. To understand and improve health literacy through digital communications, she has conducted a multitude of in-depth interviews and focus groups with Medicare beneficiaries, coming-of-agers, and caregivers to improve the Medicare.gov user experience. Her dedication to increasing access to preventive care and screenings is reflected in her work to assess consumer perceptions of preventive services, exploring factors driving disparities in the use of preventive health services among diverse Medicare beneficiary communities who face low service uptake, and the healthcare providers who serve them.
Prior to joining L&M in 2012, Ms. Onuma-Brennan served in a variety of roles focused on community-based organizing, health communications, research, program and policy development. She has led strategic planning initiatives focused on community-wide health improvement, health communications and public health emergency preparedness, including a community-driven strategic planning initiative built on community member perceptions of health and wellness through dozens of focus groups. She has served as a public health research and evaluation consultant for municipal, county, state and federal government agencies, academic institutions and private foundations.
Ms. Onuma-Brennan holds a M.P.H. from the University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, and a B.A. with honors in Anthropology from Princeton University.