Shaping America’s Healthcare


Photo courtesy of BIZJOURNALS.COM

DBHS Alumni Rajae Batniji, a co-founder of the insurance company Collective Health, aspires to make an impact in America’s healthcare system.

Vrinda Chauhan, Business Manager

Mahatma Ghandi once said “be the change you want to see in the world,” and Diamond Bar High School alumnus Rajae Batniji did just that. Graduating in 1999, Batniji is now a co-founder of a health insurance company and seeks to reform our nation’s healthcare system.

Batniji is co-founder of Collective Health, an insurance company that strives to change the inefficient healthcare system in the United States by creating a high trust system between patients and providers and changing the way customers pay for such expenses.

Batniji cited the disparity between the amount of revenue invested in healthcare and the results as part of the inefficiency of the healthcare system he seeks to alleviate.
Collective Health seeks a way to cut out the middleman (health insurance firms) and instead offer employers a way to provide its own health care coverage for their workers.

Employers would be able to pick which components of the coverage they want to offer their employees. The company combines a variety of fields in this process to create a futuristic, more transparent and effective healthcare experience for Americans.

Collective Health strives to make healthcare reliable again in America, and then move on to improving healthcare globally.
“A lot of it had to do with how I grew up with and what I saw growing up. My parents are from Gaza, and I saw dire poverty as a child, and as I grew up, I knew I wanted to change that,” he said.

The roots of his goal date back to his high school years. At DBHS, Batniji served as USB president. Back then, he simply lived with the goal of improving the health of others around him.

“My goals were always pointed generally at making people healthier and happier. A lot of people know what they want to do and what kind of title they want to take up, but I always felt that we should look at what [kind of] change we want to make in this world,” Batniji said.

He went on to pursue his bachelors and masters degrees in History at Stanford University.

With this knowledge, he gained momentum to pursue global health. He continued to influence his peers, serving as a junior and senior class president for his class, and returned to Stanford later in his life as a faculty member.

After graduating from Stanford, he applied to the medical school at UC San Francisco, where he worked to gain his Doctorate in Medicine.

He was supposed to graduate in 2007, but a year before, he decided to further his education in International Relations, and did so at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

There, he earned his Ph.D. in International Relations and International Economy.

“I used my Med degree as a sort of a lens into the field I was looking into,” he said.

Over the last few years, he has completed his education and is now focusing all of his energy on Collective Health, which he founded last year.

According to Batniji, the most effective way to fix the healthcare system is to create a new one.

“There were always obstacles [but] that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Your greatest challenges are going to come from your own curiosity and needs. You have to ask yourself: are you more motivated by the fear of failure or the prospect of success?”