Blog Post
Fellows applauding and smiling at a health care leadership course

Making it Through the Wilderness

June 8, 2017

By Maile Richardson

“Wandering around in the wilderness.” That’s how Teresa Simms, regional director of operations at North County Health Services, described her early experiences as a health care leader before she joined Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) Emerging Leaders, a leadership training in health care program.

Since its launch in 2008, CLI has driven efforts to cultivate the leadership pipeline in California’s community health centers. Lynnette Warden of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, another alumnus of CLI, said that going through the program “opened her eyes to what a leader [could] be.” She did not see herself as the cookie cutter idea of what a leader is, but was able to adapt what she learned and build on her existing expertise to address the needs of her organization.

The 18-month program prepares emerging leaders to take on executive health center positions within five to eight years. Like all of Healthforce Center’s leadership programs, CLI follows a model centered around four key areas: purpose, process, personal and people. Each domain encompasses a set of specific competencies that are part of the leadership journey. Ultimately, participants are transformed into informed leaders who drive change locally and nationally. According to a 2015 study that examined the program’s impact over time, alumni reported significant career growth since beginning CLI:

  • 77% of participants advanced to a more senior role or position.
  • 60% received a salary increase of 10% or more.
  • 46% experienced significant growth in responsibilities.
  • 44% experienced much greater satisfaction.

Not only did the program accelerate individuals' leadership journeys, but stakeholders indicated a positive impact on the community health centers and safety net fields in California.

“[CLI] has created a pool of candidates that are committed to community health centers and are eager to serve. Their thinking has been refined, and they have learned key executive skills,” said one community health center CEO.

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About Maile

Maile Richardson is an associate with Healthforce Center. She supports multiple leadership programs and is interested in diversity and equity in the health care industry.