CHCF Health Care Leadership Program

Two women smiling while participating in health care fellowship program by Healthforce Center.

Application Deadline Extended and Additional Tuition Assistance Available: Learn More

The California Health Care Foundation's (CHCF) Health Care Leadership Program prepares clinically trained professionals to lead California’s health care organizations and creates a network of strong and effective leaders who are focused on improving health care for all Californians. Each year, 32 highly qualified fellows are selected to participate in the rigorous, two-year program which builds leadership and management skills and covers business aspects of health care as well as environmental trends, policy topics, and more. This rigorous, part-time, two-year fellowship addresses essential leadership and management skills, as well as health care trends and policy topics. Since 2001, over 500 health professionals have participated in the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program. The California Health Care Foundation sponsors this program, which is administered by Healthforce Center.

Apply Today

Learn more and apply here. The application deadline has been extended from June 12 to August 31, 2020.

California Health Care Improvement Projects (CHIPs)

CHIPS are designed by CHCF Health Care Leadership Program participants with the goal of addressing meaningful challenges or opportunities in health care. Browse CHIPs to leverage the work, expertise and experience of CHCF alumni and find opportunities to collaborate in order to improve health for Californians.

CHCF Alumni Network

The CHCF Alumni Network offers access to more than 500 clinician leaders who transform health care - and communities - across California. To learn more about the network, please click here.

Stories from CHCF Fellows:


What is a Health Care Fellowship?

This two-year fellowship offers clinically trained health care professionals the experiences, competencies and skills necessary for effective vision and leadership of the health care system.

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The fellowship is grounded in Healthforce Center’s competency-based leadership model, which consists of four interlinked domains – Purpose, Process, People, and Personal. Each domain consists of a set of distinct leadership competencies. Elements of the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program include onsite learning experiences, interaction with colleagues from the field, and exposure to nationally recognized faculty experienced in business, leadership, health care, and public policy. Fellows are actively engaged throughout the two-year program by means of:

  • Seminars. In-person seminars focus on the skills and competencies needed to advance in executive leadership positions. These sessions provide interactive, experiential lessons that allow clinician leaders to explore challenges and develop strong peer networks.
  • Intersession activity. Between seminars, fellows participate in a variety of activities to reinforce skills and lessons and to prepare for seminars. Assignments include readings and case studies; peer group interactions; telephone and web conferences with faculty and advisors; and tools to track development goals and share experiences and progress. Fellows are expected to devote five to ten hours per week between sessions to program-related activities.
  • Pods. Pods are teams composed of five or six fellows. The primary role of the pod is to provide support, feedback, and learning opportunities to each other throughout the fellowship.
  • Coaching. Each fellow receives five hours of individual executive development coaching.
  • Organizational project. Each fellow completes a leadership project at their home organization on a topic of their choice following program guidelines.
Here’s what participants have said about the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program:
“The CHCF Health Care Leadership Program was and continues to be a transformational experience for me. Through its network of fellows and alumni, I believe the program is making quality, cost, and health care experience improvements at every level of policy and operations throughout the state.”
– Susan Ehrlich, MD, MPP, CEO, San Mateo Medical Center
“Health care providers are trained to excel in utilizing clinical skills to provide patient care. When I assumed leadership responsibility, I was challenged to acquire the necessary skills to lead an effective health care team. The CHCF fellowship closed that gap. It will also provide the origin for your leadership journey.”
– Amy Gutierrez, PharmD, Vice President, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Kaiser Permanente
“The program has been the best thing I have ever done for my professional and personal development. Leadership is not a sprint, but a marathon. To be successful, you can’t run it alone.”
– Michael Scott, MD, Department Chair, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Los Angeles County

“To learn how we as clinicians can be influential and to be able to meet decision makers for California, is really an incredible opportunity.” -Efrain Talmantes, MD, MBA, MSc, Medical Director for Health Equity, AltaMed Health Services  

How to Apply

Apply Here for Cohort 20.

The application deadline has been extended from June 12 to August 31, 2020. Additional tuition assistance also available. 

Before submitting an application, we encourage all applicants to work closely with their organizational leaders to identify the internal process for choosing applicants. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm organizational support to participate, including attendance at all seminars and payment of tuition. If applicants selected to participate are unable to confirm organizational support for tuition payments, applicants will be personally responsible for paying tuition.

Who Should Apply

The part-time program is for clinically trained health care professionals with at least five years of leadership experience who live and work in California. We seek diversity across disciplines, organizations, geography and racial/ethnic groups, with a special focus this year on: 

  • Clinicians in Southern California
  • Safety-net providers 
  • Black and Latino health care providers
  • Behavioral health clinicians

Candidates are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Clinical background and training
  • At least five years of management or leadership experience
  • Recognition and endorsement of the candidate as a future leader by his or her organization
  • Demonstrated accomplishments in professional and/or civic settings
  • Openness to change and understanding of the nature of the challenges confronting health care
  • Commitment to a rigorous program of study

Participant Obligations

Over the two-year fellowship, participants agree to:
  • Personally and actively participate in all program activities, including attending all in-person seminars
  • Commit to working an average of five to ten hours each week on further study and learning experiences, such as reading articles, using online tools, viewing videos, and participating in conference calls and/or meetings with other fellows
  • Develop and implement a leadership development plan and an organizational project
  • Participate in evaluation of the program
  • Permit the program to include name, organizational information (name, title, address, etc.), biographical sketch, and photo in informational and promotional materials pertaining to the program

Selection Criteria

Each year, program staff selects a cohort of up to 32 highly qualified fellows to participate in the program. Selection is a two-part process. The first phase includes an online application that comprises the following: five essay questions, an online employer reference form (from the applicant’s organizational sponsor), an additional online reference form, and a resume/curriculum vitae. The second phase is an interview of semifinalists by CHCF program alumni. 


This program represents a deep and ongoing investment by the California Health Care Foundation, which covers most costs, including the seminars and other learning experiences, education materials, electronic and print resources, lodging, and most meals related to the seminars. To ensure full organizational commitment, as well as offset some program costs, fellows’ home institutions pay tuition. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm organizational support, including payment of tuition. If applicants selected to participate are unable to confirm organizational support for tuition payments, applicants will be personally responsible for paying tuition.

The tuition for Cohort 20 is:

  • Safety-net organizations $6,000 per person*
  • Not-for-profit organizations $9,200 per person
  • For-profit organizations $11,000 per person
In addition, participants are expected to pay for airfare, ground transportation, incidentals, and other costs related to attending seminars and other program events (the program office provides lodging and most meals).
Financial Assistance:
As with past cohorts, the ability to pay is not a consideration in the selection process. Financial assistance is currently available for individuals working in Southern California (i.e. Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties) and the safety net.
  • Up to 100% tuition waiver for those working in the safety net in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego or Imperial counties.
  • Up to 90% tuition waiver for those working in the safety net in other counties.

Specific amounts for financial assistance will depend on total number of requests and whether or not applicants fall into the additional priority areas for recruitment for this application cycle. Financial assistance may not be available for future cohorts. If you have questions or if your participation in the program is dependent on financial assistance, please contact us!   

*Safety-net organizations are those that organize and deliver a significant level of health care or health-related services to uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable populations, as well as providers who by mandate or mission offer access to care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay and whose patient populations include a substantial share of uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable patients. Examples of safety net organizations include: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers, Indian or Tribal Clinics, non-profit community or free clinics licensed by the state as primary care clinics, clinics affiliated with DSH facilities, governmental health agencies, and publicly operated health plans.

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 California Health Care Foundation, the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program prepares clinically trained professionals to lead California’s health care organizations and creates a network of strong and effective leaders to improve health care for all Californians.

Contact Us

CHCF Health Care Leadership Program
Healthforce Center at UCSF
3333 California Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Voice: 415-502-7979
Fax: 415-476-4113
Renae Waneka, MPH  Senior Manager for Leadership Development Email Renae 415-476-0167 Gina Lima Program Manager Email Gina 415-502-6772 Christina Travlos  Leadership Development Associate Email Christina 415-502-3620

About the California Health Care Foundation

CHCF is leading the way to better care for all Californians, particularly those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. The Foundation works to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, and at a price they can afford.
CHCF informs policymakers and industry leaders, invests in ideas and innovations, and connects with change makers to create a more responsive, patient-centered health care system.

Featured Testimonial

This fellowship was truly a life-changing experience.
Patricia Fajarado, MPH, RN
Director of Nursing, ChapCare (Community Health Alliance of Pasadena)
CHCF Health Care Leadership Program Alumni
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