Announcing Cohort 9 of CLI's Emerging Leaders Program

Blue Shield of California Foundation is proud to announce the 9th cohort of the Clinic Leadership Institute's (CLI) Emerging Leaders program.

Thirty-two participants were selected for their commitment and contributions to California's healthcare safety net, and for their readiness to embark upon a path to build their leadership. Over the next 18 months, this intensive training program will bring participants together to learn, share, and grow into the prepared and passionate professionals who will help bring our community health centers into the future.

“Our healthcare safety net depends on strong community health centers. We know that by supporting leaders, their enhanced skills and innovative ideas will continue to drive health system improvements across the state,” said Carolyn Wang Kong, program officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Since 2007, CLI's Emerging Leaders program has produced more than 200 trained leaders across the state. Representing the diverse populations they serve, these dedicated individuals are now using the skills and experiences they gained from CLI to strengthen their organizations and make a difference in their communities.

Joining this distinguished group of alumni are this year's Emerging Leaders:

North Coast

  • Lori Maciel, Site Administrator, Open Door Community Health Centers
  • Karen Shepherd, PRC Supervisor, Consolidated Tribal Health Project, Inc.

Far North

  • Nicholas Cutler, Controller, Hill Country Community Clinic
  • Lori Schwartz, Referrals/PRC Lead, Feather River Tribal Health

Bay Area

  • Jennifer Arevalo Ruiz, Community Affairs Manager, Community Clinic Consortium
  • Leah Canvasser, Director of Information Technology, Marin Community Clinics
  • Patrisia Contreras-Vigil, Patient Services Manager, OLE Health
  • Gwendolyn Gill, Center Director/Nurse Practitioner, LifeLong Medical Care
  • Paul Nguyen, Director of Information Systems, Community Health Partnership
  • Junelle Palec, Interim Regional Manager & County Medical Sites Clinic Manager, La Clinica De La Raza, Inc.
  • Ofelia Ruiz, Revenue Cycle Director, Gardner Family Health Network, Inc.
  • Erika Simpson, Chief Operations Officer, Ravenswood Family Health Center
  • Rose Tam, Controller, Asian Health Services
  • Sandra Tavel, Grants & Contracts Administrator, Native American Health Center

Central Coast

  • Rachel Sandobal, Dental Program Director, Salud Para La Gente

Central Valley

  • Sara Gavin, Director of Behavioral Health Services, Communicare Health Centers
  • Pauline Karunakaran, Dental Director, Chapa-de Indian Health
  • Gloria Madrigal, Central Registration and Eligibility Manager, United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley
  • Melinda Marshall, Director of Operations, Golden Valley Health Center

Los Angeles

  • Margaret Duenez, Behavioral Health Director, East Valley Community Health Center
  • George Hernandez, Clinic Services Supervisor, Los Angeles Christian Health Centers
  • Michelle Horejs, Associate Director of Community Engagement & Youth Education, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles
  • Carmen Muniz, Chief Operations Officer, Pomona Community Health Center
  • Meghan Powers, Quality Improvement Manager, Venice Family Clinic
  • Rebecca Sussman, Associate Director of Programs & Grants Management, St. John's Well Child and Family Center
  • Cheryl Trinidad, Chief Development & Communications Officer, T.H.E. Health and Wellness Center

Southern California (Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego) 

  • Lauren Abrams, Program Manager, Council of Community Clinics
  • Dave Baldwin, Assistant IT Director, Borrego Community Health Foundation
  • Corinne Knutson, Director of Development, La Maestra Family Clinic, Inc.
  • Alejandro Nunez, Director of Operations, Neighborhood Healthcare


  • Claire Feldman, Director of Statewide STD Prevention Programs, California Family Health Council
  • Meghan Nousaine, Assistant Director of Quality & Care Delivery, California Primary Care Association