CHCF Health Care Leadership Program

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

Applications for the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program are closed. If you are interested in applying next year, please contact Indria Cooper and she will place you on the mailing list for next year’s application cycle.

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. 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.

Are you interested in the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program? Sign up for updates to learn more.

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

How to Apply

Applications for the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program are closed. If you are interested in applying next year, please contact Indria Cooper and she will place you on the mailing list for next year’s application cycle.

Who Should Apply

The program is for clinically trained health care professionals who live and work in California. Candidates who will enrich the professional, cultural, racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the program are encouraged to apply.
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 in-person 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.
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).
Beginning with Cohort 18, there will be tuition payment and increases for all participants. Tuition is expected to modestly increase with future cohorts.
The tuition for Cohort 18 is:
Safety net organizations        $5,000 per person
Not-for-profit organizations     $8,000 per person
All other organizations            $10,000 per person
As with past cohorts, the ability to pay is not a consideration in the selection process. Tuition reductions will be considered in cases of unusual hardship for individuals who are selected to participate.
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

Gina Lima
Project Manager
Email Gina

Indria Cooper
Leadership Development Associate
Email Indria

Christina Travlos 
Leadership Development Associate
Email Christina

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

The CHCF Health Care Leadership Program is the single most important professional experience I've ever had. The lessons I learned about the importance of vision, political savvy, and self-knowledge are fresh in my mind and help me daily.
Sang-Ick Chang, MD, MPH
Associate Dean for Primary Care, Stanford School of Medicine
CHCF Health Care Leadership Program Alumni
View All Testimonials »