Clinic Leadership Insititute

In 2007, the Foundation launched the Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI), a continuum of leadership, management, and mentoring programs for community health center (CHC) leaders and emerging leaders. The Institute grew to include three unique programs:

  • Emerging Leaders, an 18-month program designed for emerging leaders within community health centers;
  • Executive Excellence (Ex2), a program targeted to CHC executive teams; and
  • New Executive Leadership Transitions (NEXT), a program targeted to new chief executives and chief financial officers from community health centers as they moved into new leadership roles.

In total, the Foundation supported 10 cohorts of the Emerging Leaders program, 2 cohorts of the Ex2 program, and 6 cohorts of the NEXT program.

Leadership is crucial for community health centers as they navigate the rapidly changing landscape of federal health reform. Through the CLI programs, safety net leaders were able to expand their leadership, strategic, fiscal, and change management skills in order to meet the challenges their organizations face in an uncertain and rapidly changing healthcare environment.

“The Program has been invaluable in helping develop the new leaders at our health center and in the community health center movement. It prepares us to serve our communities better, as health centers [now] play a much more significant role in delivering care to our communities.”


Over the course of the CLI initiative, we have learned that networking is one of the program’s most significant outcomes—both in honing individual networking skills and in the creation of a strong web of field-wide connections, CLI leaves its alumni better and more meaningfully connected with their colleagues from around the state. These relationships have facilitated the development of a broad network of leaders with shared tools and experience from which to provide peer support, learning, and opportunities for collaboration.

We have also seen stronger health centers as a result of CLI, with participants showing evidence of increased leadership capacity, enhanced ability to respond to rapid changes in health care, and improved cultivation of emerging leaders. These tangible organizational improvements have been facilitated by CLI alumni’s application of improved skills, their applied leadership projects, and the sharing of tools and practices among staff. Health centers that have sponsored multiple program participants have seen a multiplied effect through the development of a cohort of like-minded leaders and the ability to more effectively catalyze organizational improvements.

As a result of the CLI programs, California’s health center field is well positioned to have strong leadership to advance the field well into the next decade, a time which promises to be complex and challenging. Now more than ever, these leaders will play a crucial role in ensuring the viability and effectiveness of California’s health care safety net.

As the Foundation moves toward addressing the root causes of poor health and violence in our communities, we can do so knowing that the leadership of the health center field is strong and ready to respond to the challenges ahead—and that together, we can create a California full of possibility and opportunity for all.