Clinic Leadership Institute Program

Health leaders looking at a Healthforce Center instructor learning about health care leadership.


Established in 2007, the Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) prepared health leaders of California community clinics and health centers to be effective and passionate agents of change. With participants ranging from administrative staff to new chief executive officers, CLI included two programs: Emerging Leaders and New Executive Transitions (nEXt). Graduates of both programs participate in the CLI Network, which provides ongoing professional development and peer support.

The goal of CLI was to build the next generation of safety net providers and leaders to sustain and strengthen the community health field in California. Healthforce Center's health care leadership development program incorporates a suite of programmatic elements including highly interactive in-person seminars, assessment tools, executive coaching, projects, and strong personal networks.

For ten years, the Clinic Leadership Institute was a signature project of Blue Shield of California Foundation and was supported by the California Community Foundation. Their sponsorships covered the majority of participant costs, including educational materials, transportation, lodging, and meals at seminars. The program was managed on their behalf by Healthforce Center at UCSF.


CLI's model for leadership development is comprised of the following elements:

  • Seminars. CLI participants attended six offsite seminars over an 18-month period. The seminars covered a variety of topics that take into account the social justice mission and unique structure of community health centers. Community health center executives and other leaders participated in the development and delivery of course content.
  • Intersessions. Between each seminar, participants completed assignments, carried out leadership projects and experiments, and worked with small groups of other participants.
  • Peer groups. Participants were placed in peer groups of four to six participants from their geographic areas. Peer groups carried out intersession work, completed team assignments during seminars, and provided a forum for peer advising on leadership goals and projects. CLI Emerging Leaders program alumni served as advisors for the peer groups.
  • Clinic Leadership Institute projects. Each participant developed and carried out a leadership project that addressed the unique needs of their organization, as well as the leadership goals they set.
  • Professional coaching. Each participant received nine hours of executive coaching over the course of the 18-month institute.
  • Personal learning plan. Each participant created leadership goals that they work on throughout the program. The plan focused on participants’ work with guidance from coaches and instructors.
  • CLI network. Participants had access to a network of graduates from all CLI programs. Alumni activities included semi-annual statewide meetings and regional gatherings.

The program covered strategic thinking, leadership in action, data-driven decision-making, managing relationships and diversity, organizational values, and professional development.

Watch a video about CLI participants' experiences in the program.


Here's what participants said about Clinic Leadership Institute:

"CLI is a journey that gives you a holistic view of Community Health Centers and their partners. It’s a time and place to make phenomenal connections with experts and peers within our community so there is a lifeline when issues come up." — Storey LaMontagne, Santa Cruz Women's Health Center

"Because of the program, I am more adaptive, confident, authentic and adept at communicating my vision. I am so grateful for the expert training, the coaching and the peer support that I have received from CLI!" — Amy Manta-Ranger, La Clinica de La Raza

"CLI provides an incredible opportunity to learn, to grow and to transform both professionally and personally... emerging a leader from the inside out." — Sam Fernandez, Mendocino Community Health Clinic

Watch a video that showcases a new generation of safety-net leaders from the CLI program, including Julia Liou, Andie Martinez Patterson, Liz Perez-Howe, Andrea Schwab-Galindo, and Erika Simpson-Akpawu.


After the CLI program was sunsetted, a comprehensive external evaluation found that "the institute served a critical role in supporting community health center leaders and their organizations in navigating these changes, while also building alumni networks advocating for community health centers in county- and state-level policy. The program equipped 258 individuals to lead and deliver care in a field marked by continuous change, complexity, and mounting demand."

See the complete evaluation report, "Investing in Leadership Development: A Tool for Systems Change in the Community Health Center Fieldin the Community Health Center" (PDF).

Related Articles

Featured Testimonial

Clinic Leadership Institute helped bring out the leader in me that I was born to be. I learned perseverance, humility, and found my core values that ground my leadership style. A rewarding journey never to be forgotten.
Gralyn Jacques
Controller, Ravenswood Family Health Center
Clinic Leadership Institute Alumni
View All Testimonials »