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Foundation Announces 2014 Graduates of the Clinic Leadership Institute’s Emerging Leaders Program

Professionals from California’s healthcare safety net complete training to advance their careers and capacity to serve low-income patients

San Francisco, CA, June 23, 2014 – On Saturday, June 21, over 150 leaders from community health centers across California came together to celebrate the sixth graduating class of the Clinic Leadership Institute’s (CLI) Emerging Leaders program.  With support from Blue Shield of California Foundation, twenty-six participants completed the 18-month training that provides promising healthcare professionals with new skills, networks, and guidance to improve their organizations and help lead California’s safety net into the future.

“Strong community health centers are critical to a high-performing healthcare safety net. By supporting individual leaders within these organizations, we can help to ensure that California’s low-income and underserved communities continue to have access to quality care,” said Peter Long, PhD, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “This year’s CLI graduates represent the next generation of healthcare professionals whose enhanced skills and innovative ideas will continue to drive health system improvements across the state.” 

First established in 2007, CLI’s Emerging Leaders program offers a unique curriculum focused on strategic thinking, financial management, health policy and other essential business and leadership skills. This year’s graduates make up the sixth class of trained leaders, adding to more than 125 alumni who’ve preceded them. Participants of the program are selected for their commitment to the healthcare safety net, leadership potential, and readiness to advance their careers. 

Graduates represent a variety of roles within community health centers, ranging from program managers to regional directors to systems administrators and beyond.  As the newest addition to the alumni network, they are now connected to other health center and consortia leaders throughout California who join them in preparing the safety net to deliver on the opportunities created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

A key component of the Emerging Leaders program is the development of an individual project designed to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of each participants’ organization. This year’s graduates are already implementing these projects within their community health centers. Examples include:

  • Charles Kitzman, of Shasta Community Health Center, developed a project that uses an online patient portal to mitigate increasing demand for services and make non-emergency care more manageable. By analyzing patient compliance and outcomes, the project is also providing evidence on the use of the portal as an effective tool for patient engagement.
  • Njeri McGee-Tyner, of the Alameda Health Consortium, is helping member community health centers engage in outreach, enrollment and retention activities for newly eligible Medi-Cal patients. Her project provides a range of support services to help families and individuals understand complex enrollment and renewal processes, and train trusted enrollment workers within member health centers.
  • Myrna Valentin, of North County Health Services, is coordinating a systematic approach to behavioral and primary healthcare integration. To address traditional barriers, including compartmentalization of providers and location, her project places a Behavioral Health Consultant at each individual site to assist in the coordination and collaboration of treatment and increase behavioral healthcare access.

The Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco is the administrator for the Emerging Leaders program.

The Clinic Leadership Institute’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2014: 

North Coast

  • Liz Odell, Six Rivers Planned Parenthood
  • Elizabeth Lara-O’Rourke, United Indian Health Services, Inc.

Far North

  • Charles Kitzman, Shasta Community Health Center

Bay Area

  • Maureen Boland, Women’s Community Clinic
  • Miguel Ángel Castañón, Community Health Clinic Ole
  • Jack Cheng, HealthRIGHT 360
  • Evelyn Crespo, La Clinica de la Raza
  • Gaby Leroi, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers
  • Julia Liou, Asian Health Services
  • Njeri McGee-Tyner, Alameda Health Consortium
  • Sarah Ross, Community Health Clinic Ole
  • Gina Schellenberg, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center
  • Dana Valley, West County Health Centers 

Central Coast

  • Storey La Montagne, Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center

Central Valley

  • Debbie Arvay, Chapa-De Indian Health Program, Inc.
  • Yolanda Latham, Sonoma County Indian Health Project
  • Harpreet Ma, CommuniCare Health Centers
  • Norma Verduzco, Family HealthCare Network

Los Angeles

  • Elvia Delgado, AltaMed Health Services Corporation
  • Karen Lauterbach, Venice Family Clinic
  • Stephanie Love, The Children’s Clinic Serving Children and their Families
  • Flora Poladyan, Comprehensive Community Health Centers, Inc.
  • Jessica Sigaran-Calderon, Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center

Southern California

  • Myrna Valentin, North County Health Services
  • Corina Vasquez, Borrego Community Health Foundation


  • Nomsa Khalfani, California Family Health Council


About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.

About the Center for the Health Professions at UCSF

Since 1992, the Center has been dedicated to transforming health care by delivering leadership programs to empower change agents at every level and within all sectors of the health care system; and by producing nationally and internationally recognized, unbiased research to help health care decision makers understand today's workforce issues and design actionable strategies to solve them. For more information about the Center, visit: http://futurehealth.ucsf.edu/