Clinic Leadership Institute - Emerging Leaders

Apply Now Here.

The Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) prepares leaders of California community clinics and health centers to be effective and passionate agents of change. With participants ranging from administrative staff to new chief executive officers, CLI includes two programs: Emerging Leaders and New Executive Transitions (nEXt). Graduates of both programs participate in the CLI Network, which provides ongoing professional development and peer support.

The goal of CLI Emerging Leaders is to build the next generation of safety net providers and leaders who will sustain and strengthen the community health field in California.

The Clinic Leadership Institute is a signature project of Blue Shield of California Foundation, a private foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of Californians, particularly underserved populations, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable for all Californians, and by ending domestic violence.

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Stories from CLI Fellows:


Our Approach

We believe leadership development is a process of individual discovery and transformation. Our programs accelerate this transformation process through a leadership model centered around four key areas – Purpose, Process, Personal, and People. In developing a program for you, we will assess your organizational needs and desired outcomes in order to create a training process designed to maximize development in the areas that are most important to your organization. Our programs incorporate a suite of programmatic elements proven to drive results including highly interactive in-person seminars, assessment tools, executive coaching, projects, and strong personal networks.


CLI Emerging Leaders’ model for leadership development is comprised of the following elements:

  • Seminars. CLI participants attend six offsite seminars over an 18-month period. The seminars cover a variety of topics that take into account the social justice mission and unique structure of community health centers. Community health center executives and other leaders participate in the development and delivery of course content.
  • Intersessions. Between each seminar, participants complete assignments, carry out leadership projects and experiments, and work with small groups of other participants.
  • Peer groups. Participants are placed in peer groups of four to six participants from their geographic areas. Peer groups carry out intersession work, complete team assignments during seminars, and provide a forum for peer advising on leadership goals and projects. CLI Emerging Leaders program alumni serve as advisors for the peer groups.
  • Clinic Leadership Institute projects. Each participant develops and carries out a leadership project that addresses the unique needs of their organization, as well as the leadership goals they have set.
  • Professional coaching. Each participant receives nine hours of executive coaching over the course of the 18-month institute and six hours of alumni coaching in the year following graduation from the program.
  • Personal learning plan. Each participant creates leadership goals that they work on throughout the program. The plan focuses on participants’ work with guidance from coaches and instructors.
  • CLI network. Participants have access to a network of graduates from all CLI programs. Alumni activities include semi-annual statewide meetings and regional gatherings.

Here's what participants are saying about Clinic Leadership Institute:

"CLI is a journey that gives you a holistic view of Community Health Centers and their partners.  It’s a time and place to make phenomenal connections with experts and peers within our community so there is a lifeline when issues come up."
- Storey LaMontagne, Santa Cruz Women's Health Center

"Because of the program, I am more adaptive, confident, authentic and adept at communicating my vision.  I am so grateful for the expert training, the coaching and the peer support that I have received from CLI!"
- Amy Manta-Ranger, La Clinica de La Raza

"CLI provides an incredible opportunity to learn, to grow and to transform both professionally and personally  . . . Emerging a leader from the inside out."
- Sam Fernandez, Mendocino Community Health Clinic

Apply Now Here.

To be eligible to apply for CLI Emerging Leaders, applicants MUST BE currently employed by a clinic licensed by the state of California as a Community Clinic, Free Clinic or designated Tribal Clinic or employed by a regional or statewide consortia serving California’s community clinics and health centers.

View eligibility for Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders for a list of organizations that meet these criteria. If your organization is not listed and meets the above criteria, please email us to determine eligibility.

Applicants must also:

  • Have at least three years of employment in the clinic field by the start of the program.
  • Currently work in a management or supervisory capacity, which may include but is not limited to:
    • supervising three or more individuals at the same time,
    • managing a specific program area of the health center, or
    • leading a team of individuals or a project team within a clinic or consortium department.
  • Demonstrate long-term commitment and passion to serve the health care safety net and community clinics.
  • Be open to learning about themselves and their organizations, and to making changes to meet the future needs of the safety net community.
  • Be recognized by others as a leader.
  • Be sponsored by his or her current employer.


CLI participants agree to fully engage in all aspects of this 18-month program. Specifically, participants agree to:

  • Participate actively in all activities, including attending all six seminars. These two to four day seminars take place on weekdays and on some weekends.
  • Commit to spending an average of three hours each week on further study and learning experiences, which may include reading articles, watching videos, and participating in peer group work.
  • Develop and track leadership development goals.
  • Develop and implement a clinic leadership project.
  • Secure clinic/employer sponsorship to include release time during the workweek for attending seminars.
  • Participate in evaluation of the program.
  • Join the CLI alumni network after completing the program.
  • Permit UCSF and BSCF to include their name, title, organizational information, biosketch, photo, and video image in CLI informational and promotional materials.

Blue Shield of California Foundation’s sponsorship covers most costs, including educational materials, transportation, lodging, and most meals at seminars. Participants are asked to cover incidental costs for attending seminars and other program events such as tips, food, and beverages on travel days.

What is Clinic Leadership Institute?

Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) supports the advancement of new and existing leaders in community health.

How long is the program?

18 months

How are participants chosen?

Eligible participants are chosen based on their openness to personal and professional improvement, their leadership potential, and their demonstrated commitment to the role of community health centers in California’s health care safety net.

How much does it cost?

Blue Shield of California Foundaiton’s sponsorship covers nearly all costs for Emerging Leaders particpants, including educational materials, transportation, odging, events, seminars, and other learning experiences.

What will the program cover?

  • Strategic thinking
  • Leadership in action
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Managing relationships and diversity
  • Organizational values
  • Professional development

We are located at Healthforce Center at UCSF, the leading source for research insights into the evolving health care workforce and for pioneering training programs that empower leaders to navigate change. In partnership with the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Program prepares leaders of California community clinics and health centers to be effective and passionate agents of change.

Contact Us

Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders
Healthforce Center at UCSF
3333 California Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Email the CLI program

Program Team

Lauren Hill, MPH
Senior Manager, Leadership Development
Email Lauren

James Koontz
Leadership Development Assistant
Email James
(415) 476-1790

Marie Hubbard, MSW
Leadership Development Associate
Email Marie
(415) 476-1662

Amy Quan
Leadership Development Associate
Email Amy
(415) 514-2853

Sunita Mutha, MD, FACP
Email Sunita

Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. Recognizing the importance of cultivating strong leaders within California’s health care safety net, the Foundation created CLI in 2007 through a partnership with Healthforce Center at UCSF.

Featured Testimonial

Clinic Leadership Institute provides an incredible opportunity to learn, to grow and to transform both professionally and personally. I emerged a leader from the inside out.
Sam Fernandez, LCSW
Assistant Director of Behavioral Health, Mendocino Community Health Clinics
View All Testimonials »