CHCF Health Care Leadership Program

CHCF Cohort 18 Smiling

What is the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program?

This two-year fellowship 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. 

View the 2021 Prospective Applicant Webinar

  • Learn about the program and curriculum
  • Hear directly from CHCF alumni about their experience  
Program Details 

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. Learn more about the program

Transforming Health Care

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.

See a list of current fellows and all alumni. 

Stories from CHCF Fellows:


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. 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.


View the 2021 Prospective Applicant Webinar

  • Learn about the program and curriculum
  • Hear directly from CHCF alumni about their experience   


CHCF Alumni Network

Joining the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program gives you access to 500 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, according to an external program survey conducted by Informing Change, December 2019. Learn more about the Alumni Network. 

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  


The CHCH Health Care Leadership 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, regions, racial/ethnic groups, and organizations with a special focus this year on:

  • Clinicians in Southern California,
  • Black and Latinx health care providers,
  • Safety net providers,
  • Behavioral health clinicians.

A full applications include: 

  • Completed online application 
  • Resume
  • 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.

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 21 is:

  • Safety net organizations†            $6,000 per person
  • Not-for-profit organizations       $9,200 per person
  • All other organizations                $11,000 per person

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 for this cohort of the program.

•    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.

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.

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
  • 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)


Healthforce Center 

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
490 Illinois Street, Floor 11, Box 1242
San Francisco, CA 94143
Voice: 415-502-7979
Renae Waneka, MPH
Senior Manager for Leadership Development
Gina Lima
Program Manager
Christina Travlos 
Leadership Development Associate

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
View All Testimonials »