Coronavirus Updates

Myers earned his bachelor of science in chemistry from Davidson College in 2003, and he went on to study medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Instead of going straight into his residency, he enrolled in the Weekend MBA Program, wanting to learn more about the finance and economics behind health-care models.

“On the same campus, there’s a world-class medical school and the best business school in the world,” Myers said. “And for me, that synthesis was very important.”

While at Booth, he joined Boston Consulting Group as a project leader, building economic models of health-care systems around the world. After graduation, he went on to complete his residency, in emergency medicine, at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, both affiliates of Harvard Medical School. During his residency, Myers realized that the health-care system was failing low-income seniors. Individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid—among the most vulnerable people in the health-care system—were far more likely to suffer chronic diseases and lack access to care, making them more likely to be admitted to the hospital for acute crises.

“I came to Booth as a naturally curious person,” Myers said. “But what Booth did is get me to ask more questions, to not stop, and to keep digging, and at the same time, it equipped me with new ways to go get those answers.”

A social entrepreneur at heart, with his business acuity and his experience in the emergency room by his side, Myers envisioned a health center that truly supported low- income seniors. The idea for Oak Street Health was born. Myers made a deal with two friends: if he could get started raising the money to start the company, they would quit their jobs to get to work. He did—and they did, coming together to open the first Oak Street Health clinic in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood in 2012. Myers became chief medical officer, responsible for maintaining health-care-delivery excellence and building and supporting the clinics’ patient care teams.

While most practices follow fee-for-service models, which critics say can prioritize the volume of patient visits over the quality of care, Oak Street Health instead uses a value- based care model, taking on the full risk of patients’ health. The providers are invested in how their patients are doing after they leave the office, not just during each visit.

“Booth really changed the way I think about problems,” Myers said. “I don’t stop when the answer feels right. You’ve got to keep asking.”

Oak Street also attends to the oft-unaddressed social determinants of health that can have dire consequences. The clinics provide shuttle service for clients who need a way to get to medical care, and patients can reach clinicians 24-7 by phone. Through community and patient-engagement events ranging from bingo to Spanish language classes to talks by specialists on breast cancer screenings, Oak Street has helped to reduce no-shows and to encourage clients to come into the clinic.

Relying on the risk assessment and resource management he learned in emergency medicine, Myers has helped guide Oak Street in its mission to improve lives and decrease the cost of care. The model is working. As of 2019, Oak Street had reduced hospital admissions among its patients by over 40 percent, achieved five-star quality ratings, and tallied a 91 percent net promoter score, a measurement of patient satisfaction. It also has lowered its rate of patients readmitted to hospitals too quickly after being discharged. The value-based model allows the sickest patients to receive the majority of the center’s energy and resources. Oak Street treats 60,000 patients at 40 locations in eight markets, with plans to open between 14 and 20 new centers this year.

Myers is a diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a research associate at Harvard Medical School, and an adjunct instructor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also a thought leader for the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst, a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Despite his packed schedule, he spends one day a week working alongside Oak Street’s care teams, using his passion for helping others to spread his ideals of better care and better access.

Myers believes that if you find the right problem, the hours cease to matter. “Find the impact that you want to have, that you’re obsessed with,” he said. “And go do whatever it takes to make that impact.”