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Foundation Announces 2017 Graduates of The Clinic Leadership Institute

San Francisco, CA (July 6, 2017) – Today Blue Shield of California Foundation announced the 2017 graduating class of the Clinic Leadership Institute’s (CLI) Emerging Leaders program. The announcement marks the culmination of the 18-month program designed to provide promising healthcare professionals with the practical skills, networks, and training to effectively lead their organizations as they navigate the dynamic landscape of California’s healthcare safety net.

“In today’s climate of political uncertainty about the future of health care, community health centers remain indispensable sources of quality care, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Peter Long, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “No matter what the future holds, these organizations will need strong, agile leadership. There is no doubt that this year’s CLI graduates are prepared—not simply to face the challenges ahead, but to meet them with enthusiasm and dedication, strengthening our healthcare safety net—and helping to build the foundation for a California full of possibility and opportunity for all.”

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. The program guides each participant in the development of an innovative, independent project that is then implemented in their community health center post-graduation.

Fully funded by Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Emerging Leaders program is administered by the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco.

Introducing CLI’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2017: 

North Coast

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

Far North

  • Lori Schwartz, Referrals/PRC Lead, Feather River Tribal Health

Bay Area

  • Leah Canvasser, Chief Administrative Officer, 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, Regional Manager & Solano County Medical Sites Clinic Manager, La Clinica Vallejo Medical, 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, Chief Financial Officer, Asian Health Services
  • Sandra Tavel, Grants & Contracts Administrator/Communications Manager, Native American Health Center

Central Valley

  • Tanya del Rio, Regional Manager, WellSpace Health
  • 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 Manager, Los Angeles Christian Health Centers
  • Michelle Horejs, Director of Taining & Education, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles
  • Carmen Muniz, Chief Operations Officer, Pomona Community Health Center
  • Meghan Powers,  Director of Quality Improvement, Venice Family Clinic
  • 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, Chief Information Officer, Borrego Community Health Foundation
  • Corinne Knutson, Director of Development, La Maestra Family Clinic, Inc.
  • Alejandro Nunez, Revenue Cycle Director, Neighborhood Healthcare


  • Claire Feldman, Director of Wellness, Petaluma Health Center
  • Meghan Nousaine, Assistant Director of Health Center Operations, California Primary Care Association