Charting the Course: Career Paths Among Emerging Health Center Leaders
California’s community health centers face numerous challenges amidst a vast, complex and rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. Chief among these challenges is the need to adapt to changes in the healthcare system resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and remain solvent and competitive, all while serving more than four million of the state’s underserved and uninsured residents.Now more than ever, there is a critical need for committed, networked and adaptable individuals to fill executive roles and lead health centers into the future.
To help strengthen health centers’ leadership and long-term effectiveness, Blue Shield of California Foundation partners with the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco to deliver the Clinic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders program (the program). The 18-month program offers in-person, multi-day seminars and complementary supports—including peer networking, coaching and an applied leadership project—to help emerging leaders grow into executive-level positions within five to eight years. Since 2008, the program has trained five cohorts of diverse participants from health centers throughout California.
In this brief, we focus on the career paths of 94 participants from the first four program cohorts from the time of program enrollment to up to three years after graduation.2 We also summarize factors contributing to participants’ career paths, highlight individual participants and their paths, and offer considerations for those pursuing and supporting leadership in health centers.