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. Alumni become part of a network of over 600 leaders that continue to collaborate and develop their skills. Since 2001, over 600 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 at UCSF. Learn more about the program. Watch the 2022 Prospective Applicant Webinar to learn about the program and curriculum and 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, the leading source for research insights into the evolving health care workforce and for pioneering training programs that empower leaders to navigate change. The program team includes Renae Waneka, MPH, Senior Manager for Leadership Development; Gina Lima, Program Manager; and Christina Travlos, Leadership Development Associate. Email the program office 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.


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 process for the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program Cohort 22 is closed for 2022.

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 May 11 webinar below to learn about the program and curriculum and hear directly from CHCF alumni about their experience:




Contact us with any questions.



The CHCF Health Care Leadership Program is for licensed 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 the San Diego area
  • Black, Latinx, and American Indian health care providers
  • Safety net providers
  • 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 22 is:

  • Safety net organizations*: $6,500 per person
  • Not-for-profit organizations: $9,900 per person
  • All other organizations: $11,900 per person

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

Financial assistance is available. As with past cohorts, 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 Inland Empire, San Joaquin Valley, and the San Diego area (San Diego and Imperial Counties). Financial assistance might 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.


COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements (April 2022)

Proof of vaccination is required to participate in the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program.

  • UCSF adheres to the San Francisco Department of Public Health COVID-19 health requirements, and, in some instances, our requirements are more stringent given UCSF's unique role as an academic, medical, and research enterprise.
  • UCSF faculty, staff, learners, and vendors must comply with the mandatory UC Office of the President Vaccination Policy to attend an in-person meeting or event.
  • Fellowship seminars will be held in person. Thus, proof of full vaccination will be required to participate in the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program.
  • All UCSF meeting and event guidance is being reviewed weekly for any changes to policy.

Program Participants

In September 2021, 32 clinical leaders were selected as Cohort 21 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. Cohort 21 includes a great diversity of clinicians including physicians, behavioral health specialists, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and a dentist. They hail from across the state – from San Diego to the North Coast. Nearly 600 health care professionals have participated in the program since its inception in 2001.  

Cohort 21 fellows (in alphabetical order) with their organizational affiliations and a link to each person’s LinkedIn profile if available:

  • Michael Brodsky, MD, medical director of behavioral health and social services, L.A. Care Health Plan
  • Aspen Burnett, MSW, LCSW, director of behavioral health, JWCH Wesley Community Health Center (Los Angeles County)
  • Manuel Campa, MD, primary care director, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Sharon Cobb, PhD, RN, director, prelicensure nursing programs, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science (Los Angeles County)
  • Romana Crespo-Belarde, LCSW, director of behavioral health, White Memorial Community Health Center (Los Angeles County)
  • Jeffrey DeVido, MD, MTS, behavioral health clinical director, Partnership HealthPlan of California (Marin County)
  • Tricina Edwards, BSN, nurse manager, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health
  • Weston Fisher, MD, executive director for informatics and quality, UCSF
  • Tiffany Ho, MD, behavioral health medical director, County of Santa Clara Health System
  • Dennis Hsieh, MD, JD, chief medical officer, Contra Costa Health Plan (Contra Costa County)
  • Brian Hurley, MD, MBA, medical director, Division of Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Sommer Kaskowitz, DNP, MSN, chief clinical officer and chief nursing officer, Central City Community Health Center (Los Angeles County)
  • Ravi Kavasery, MD, vice president, cost of health care, Blue Shield of California (Los Angeles County)
  • Jessica Kuo, PharmD, interim chief operations officer, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Carmen Wah Liang, DO, MPH, associate medical director, Adult Urgent Care Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma
  • Cynthia Lin, MD, chief of medicine, Chinese Hospital (San Francisco)
  • Deirdre Logan, MD, MMM, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, Keck Medicine of USC (Los Angeles County)
  • Phuong Luu, MD, MHS, bi-county health officer for Sutter and Yuba Counties, Yuba County Health and Human Services Department
  • Dawnell Moody, DO, MPH, chief medical officer, Axis Community Health (Alameda County)
  • Jeffrey Norris, MD, chief medical officer, Father Joe's Villages (San Diego County)
  • Lindsey O'Leary, MA, marriage and family therapist, manager of quality improvement, Monterey County Behavioral Health
  • Gabriel Ortiz, MD, PhD, medical director for medical/surgical care, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center
  • Ana Rapoport, MSN, CNM, certified nurse midwife, Kaiser Permanente (Contra Costa County)
  • Teri Rhetta, MD, MMM, vice president and medical director, WellCare Health Plans (Orange County)
  • Angel Rodriguez, MSW, director of behavioral health, UMMA Community Clinic (Los Angeles County)
  • Darpun Sachdev, MD, medical director for contact tracing, linkage to care, and navigation programs for HIV, STDs, and COVID-19, San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Sujatha Sankaran, MD, associate clinical professor, UCSF (San Francisco)
  • Ashley Sens, MD, chief medical officer, Woodland Clinic Medical Group (Yolo County)
  • Ilan Shapiro, MD, AltaMed, Medical Director of Health Education and Wellness
  • Tiffany Sickler, PhD, program director, Koinonia Family Services (Riverside County)
  • Mithu Tharayil, MD, primary care department chair, San Mateo Medical Center
  • Paige Thiermann, MD, regional medical director, Neighborhood Healthcare (San Diego County)
  • Sheila Young, MD, director, enhanced post-baccalaureate certificate program in pre-medicine, and director, pre-medical academy, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (Los Angeles County)


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 »