Helping leaders cross
Meet Our Team
Leading Healthy Futures’ consultants provide an unmatched level of engagement and understanding of our clients’ needs and goals. Our professional backgrounds and considerable abilities in critical thinking and analysis lead to powerful questions and new perspectives from the moment a project begins. Get to know us and how we can help make an immediate positive impact.
Rachel Sacks, MPH
Rachel brings to the leadership of Leading Healthy Futures over a decade of experience in the public health and nonprofit health sector. She helps clients to conceptualize, define, and actualize new ideas for grant opportunities and partnerships. Rachel is adept at translating complex scientific, medical, and policy information into easily understandable language for lay audiences. She is also a skilled facilitator who regularly leads state and local planning processes and has presented at national conferences, including the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting and the Zero To Three National Training Institute.
Rachel’s work with organizations and stakeholders across the healthcare field has provided her with a broad perspective on the challenges and opportunities the sector faces. Previously, she worked at the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she led a multiyear effort to incorporate the national health promotion initiative Bright Futures into Illinois Medicaid and CHIP policy, culminating in the release of the revised Handbook for Providers of Healthy Kids Services. Prior to ICAAP, Rachel worked with the Chicago Department of Public Health, leading a committee of partner organizations in conducting part of the City’s community needs assessment. She also spent three years at the Center for Jewish Genetics working on community education around genetics, family health history, and reproductive health.
Rachel graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Science in Human Culture, and holds a Master of Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Lauren Knap, MS
In her six years as a consultant, Lauren has coordinated complex projects and interfaced directly with organizational leadership to ensure the on-time and on-budget delivery of program planning, grant acquisition and strategic alliance projects. She specializes in data collection and analysis, be that grant prospecting for specific programs or broader organization goals, or analyzing health indicators and demographic trends to inform organizational decision making.
Previously, Lauren taught 5th grade in a low-income, underserved school in Charlotte, North Carolina through Teach for America. While there, she served as the Chair of the School Leadership Committee. In her work with a national nonprofit dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency among the homeless, Lauren successfully netted more than $100,000 in revenue in the Baltimore and Philadelphia areas. Also in Philadelphia, she designed, coordinated, and trained instructors on an integrated science curriculum for an after school program at 53 public libraries across the city. In Chicago, Lauren enhanced the science education for hundreds of students in the city and neighboring suburbs with In Search of Genius where she served as Program Manager and Lead Teacher.
Lauren graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan University. She completed her Master’s in Nonprofit and Non-Governmental Organization Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
Leading Healthy Futures was founded by Pamela Xichel Cairns, MHA, in 2011. Known for her ability to define and lead strategies that stand the test of time, Pam's inspiring leadership, skilled facilitation, and creative approaches to solving complex problems have helped countless health and human services organizations chart successful futures. Pam's 35-year track record of success in executive leadership, grants management and fundraising, governance, and operations improvement has included serving as President and CEO of Erie Family Health Center – one of Chicago’s largest Federally Qualified Health Centers - and leading the formation of several multi-organizational collaborations and strategic alliances that are still active to this day.
In 2018, Leading Healthy Futures' service line transitioned to the leadership of Rachel Sacks as part of Henry Street Solutions, Inc. Both Rachel and her colleague Lauren Knap previously worked under Pam's expert guidance for years, and were mentored in providing this unique brand of critical thinking and high quality consulting services. Pam's mentorship has allowed Rachel to continue to deliver Leading Healthy Futures' same brand of creative and sustainable solutions to health and human service organizations as they cross critical junctures.