CHCF Health Care Leadership Program

Photo of CHCF Cohort 18 clapping and smiling


The California Health Care Foundation's (CHCF) Health Care Leadership Program helps to transform today’s clinicians into tomorrow’s leaders. Up to 32 physicians, behavioral health providers, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and other health care professionals are selected annually for this two-year, part-time fellowship.

Fellows participate in the program while continuing to work at their home organizations. They attend six seminars during the course of the fellowship and meet in regional groups with designated leaders between seminars. Each fellow also completes a California Health Care Improvement Project of their choice, according to fellowship guidelines.

The program is led by national experts in health care and leadership development from Healthforce Center at UCSF and addresses health care issues from the perspectives of business management and public policy.

Fellows broaden their management skills and sharpen their leadership capacity while gaining insights into the trends and challenges facing health care in California. Graduates become part of an alumni network of leaders that continue to collaborate and develop their skills. Since 2001, over 700 health professionals have participated in the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program.

The California Health Care Foundation sponsors this program, which was developed by and is administered by Healthforce Center at UCSF.

Watch the prospective applicant webinar from 2023 to learn more about the program and curriculum and to hear directly from CHCF alumni about their experience.

Funded by 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. Learn more about CHCF.

Managed by Healthforce Center at UCSF

The program is located at Healthforce Center at UCSF, a leading source for research insights into the evolving health care workforce and for pioneering training programs that empower leaders to navigate change. Please contact us with any questions.

Program Details

The CHCF Health Care Leadership Program is grounded in Healthforce Center’s adaptive 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. 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.

Curriculum threads addressed in the learning seminars that help build participant skills include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Business acumen
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Working with others
  • Environmental context and systems
  • Communication and presence
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Policy and advocacy

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 Health Care Leadership Program gives participants access to over 600 clinician leaders that make up the CHCF Alumni Network. This unique collective of leaders serves as a trusted community of peers connected by shared values and approaches to leadership. Strong relationships help leaders tackle some of the most difficult challenges in the field. Nearly all alumni (90%) agree that the network plays a role in transforming health care in California. Learn more about the CHCF Alumni Network.

See a list of current fellows and all alumni.


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, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

“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 

To Apply

The application deadline has been extended one week to June 7 for the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program! Start your application by Friday, June 7 at 11:59 PM Pacific.

A full application includes: a completed online application, resume, and two recommendations. 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.

Watch the prospective applicant webinar from 2023 to learn more about the program and curriculum and to hear directly from CHCF alumni about their experience.

Contact us with any questions. To get periodic updates about this and other leadership development opportunities, sign up for the Healthforce Center newsletter.


The CHCF Health Care Leadership Program is for clinicians with at least five years of leadership experience who live and work in California. We seek diversity across disciplines, regions, racial/ethnic groups, and organizations with a special focus this year on:

  • Clinicians in San Joaquin Valley and south of greater Los Angeles
  • Black, Latino, and Indigenous health care clinicians
  • Safety-net clinicians
  • Behavioral health clinicians


The California Health Care Foundation covers most program costs, but fellows’ home organizations must pay tuition, as shown below. In addition, fellows are responsible for travel expenses.

The tuition for Cohort 24 is:

  • Safety net organizations*: $6,825 per person
  • Not-for-profit organizations: $10,395 per person
  • All other organizations: $12,495 per person

The full tuition amount will be due before the first seminar.

Financial assistance is available. The ability to pay is not a consideration in the selection process. Up to a 50% tuition waiver is available for individuals working at safety-net organizations located in the San Joaquin Valley and south of greater Los Angeles (e.g., San Diego, Imperial, Inland Empire). 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 includes 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.

Application FAQ as of 5/6/2024


Q1. Is this program open to all health care professionals or specifically open to clinical practitioners? Is active licensure required?
A1: The program is open to clinically trained professionals with at least five years for leadership experience. An active license is not required.

Q2. Does the second reference need to be from my current organization?
A2: We require one recommendation from your supervisor/sponsor organization and one additional professional reference. The second reference does not need to be from your current organization.

Q3. I am a consultant/contractor and do not have a home/sponsor organization. Can I still apply?
A3: While every applicant's situation is unique, prospective applicants without a sponsor institution have typically not been eligible for the program. Home/sponsor institutions serve as a "laboratory" for a fellow's improvement project and leadership efforts. The application requires a reference letter of support from the candidate's supervisor/sponsoring institution.


Q4. Can the tuition be fully funded/waived?
A4: No, tuition is not fully funded. Participants traditionally receive tuition support from their home institutions. The primary funding support for this fellowship comes from the California Health Care Foundation.

Q5. Is there a tuition waiver for safety-net organizations?
A5: If you are applying from a safety-net, the tuition would be $6,825; and you can request a waiver to receive up to 50% (up to $3,412, based on our remaining waiver subsidies).

Q6. Is my home organization responsible to support travel expenses?
A6: Admitted fellows are responsible for travel expenses. A prospective fellow should discuss with their home organization if travel expenses may be sponsored, in addition to supporting time away and tuition costs. The fellowship covers program costs for instructors, coaches, lodging/meals during the seminars.

Program Participants

In October 2023, 32 clinical leaders were selected as cohort 23 to participate in the California Health Care Foundation’s Health Care Leadership Program to expand their leadership and management skills to meet the challenges facing our state’s health care system. This new cohort includes a great diversity of clinicians including physicians, behavioral health specialists, nurses, and social workers. They hail from across the state – from San Diego to the North Coast.

Here are cohort 23 fellows (in alphabetical order) with their organizational affiliations and a link to their LinkedIn profile, if available:

  • Iliniza (Nisa) Baty, MSW, Director of Behavioral Health, Venice Family Clinic
  • Kim Bower, MD, Medical Director, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan
  • Mai Bui-Duy, MD, Director of Health Information and Population Health, Salud Para La Gente
  • Anna Chodos, MD, MPH, Director, Whole Person Geriatrics, San Francisco Health Network
  • Jonathon Diulio, MD, Medical Director, San Joaquin Health Centers
  • Magdalen Edmunds, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, LifeLong Medical Care
  • Alex Edwards, MD, Assistant Physician in Chief, The Permanente Medical Group (Kaiser San Francisco)
  • Alissa Erogbogbo, MD, Chair of the Maternal Child Health Department, El Camino Health
  • Shellena Eskridge, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director, Homeless Prenatal Program
  • Meredith Evans, MS, Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Peach Tree Health
  • Eric Fein, MD, MS, Director of Outpatient Pediatrics Quality Improvement, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/LA County Department of Health Services
  • Christopher Hiromura, MD, Associate Medical Director, Family Care Specialists Medical Group
  • Daniel Kozman, MD, MPH, Director of Health Equity Partnerships and Assistant Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Yoshi Laing, MD, MPH, Medical Consultant in the Division of Quality and Population Health Management, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Albert Lam, MD, Medical Director for Geriatric Medicine, Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group
  • Rob Larcina, MSN, Deputy Director of Nursing Inpatient Services, San Mateo Medical Center
  • Sefanit Mekuria, MD, MPH, Medical Director and Contra Costa Deputy Health Officer, Contra Costa Health Services
  • Tegwin Millard, MPA, LMFT, Director of Community Mental Health, CommuniCare Health Centers
  • Priya Motz, DO, MPH, Quality & Health Equity Transformation Branch Chief, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Mychi Nguyen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Asian Health Services
  • Andrew Oh, MD, MBA, Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Los Angeles General Medical Center
  • Jorge Otañez, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, TrueCare
  • Alison Pachynski, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Executive, San Quentin Rehabilitation Center, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Ryan Pedigo, MD, MHPE , Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/LA County Department of Health Services
  • Katie Penninga, MSW, Director of Behavioral Health Operations, San Ysidro Health
  • Liz Renteria, MSW, MS, Chief Clinical Officer, Tri-City Mental Health Authority
  • Lorin Scher, MD, Director, Integrated Behavioral Health Services, UC Davis Health
  • Trinidad Solis, MD, MPH, Deputy Health Officer, Fresno County Department of Public Health
  • Rachel Stern, MD, Ambulatory Care Chief Quality Medical Officer, Ventura County Health Care Agency
  • Lello Tesema, MD, MS, Unit Chief, Food and Waterborne Disease, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Alison Wu, MD, Director of OB/GYN Hospitalist Program, Hoag Hospital Irvine

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
View All Testimonials »