The Pathway to Leadership: Lessons from Clinic Leadership Institute


BTW Informing Change

May 2011

The community health center movement that was founded in the mid-1960s has since grown into a complex system of clinics that are critical to the delivery of high quality, comprehensive health care services for poor and underserved populations across California and the nation. Historically, community clinics have often lacked substantial resources to support and equip staff with the skills they need to successfully move into executive leadership positions. Now, as many tenured leaders approach retirement, the community clinics field faces an impending shortage of leaders who are prepared to fill senior clinic positions. This problem is compounded by the fact that the recent passage of federal health care reform is bringing rapid changes to the already complex health care environment. Now more than ever, clinics need strong and competent leaders to guide them through these upcoming changes and enable them to effectively meet the needs of their patients and communities. 

In response to the leadership challenges and needs in the community clinics field, particularly regarding the development of emerging leaders, Blue Shield of California Foundation has partnered with the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco to design and implement Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI). Launched in 2008, CLI is an 18-month leadership program designed to prepare emerging leaders to move into executive clinic leadership positions within 5 to 8 years, thereby helping to sustain a strong and vibrant California community clinics system. Blue Shield of California Foundation has committed $10 million to support a total of five CLI cohorts, two of which have been completed to date. CLI selects approximately 25 applicants for each cohort—ultimately, the program plans to train more than 125 emerging leaders by 2013.