The inaugural cohort of CHCF Health Equity Fellows, selected through an extremely competitive application process, represents California’s geographic and cultural diversity. The fellows bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to CHCF’s health equity focus.

The 2021–23 fellows are working on four project areas that are aligned with CHCF’s strategies for supporting health equity: Impact Investing, Health Policy, Homelessness and Health Care, and Improving Access.

“The inaugural cohort of CHCF Health Equity Fellows is full of rising stars working to make California’s systems of care more just,” said Sandra R. Hernández, MD, president and CEO of CHCF. “We are delighted that the fellows will bring their demonstrated commitment to racial and economic equity to CHCF and to the philanthropy world.”

Meet the 2021–23 CHCF Health Equity Fellows

Janet Boachie, Impact Investing

Janet Boachie will work with the CHCF Innovation Fund to expand its investment strategy to include seed-stage companies, where traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs — specifically founders who are Black, Latino/x, other people of color, or female — face disparities in access to funding. These founders are critical partners because they are often able to tap into their lived experiences to champion technology solutions that align with our mission of improving health care delivery to all Californians.

“A small fraction of venture funding goes to underrepresented founders, and it’s definitely smaller in the health tech space. There are several founders with lived experience who have disruptive solutions that can tremendously change how care is accessed and delivered! I’m so excited to create a space for health tech founders who are Black, Latino/x, and other people of color — especially those with early-stage companies — to receive what they need to feel empowered and be successful in their ventures.”

Kenna Chic, Health Policy

Kenna Chic will work with the State Health Policy Office to identify policy opportunities to foster better care and outcomes for Californians while centering that work on improvements in equity. Kenna will focus on deepening CHCF’s understanding of California’s health equity policy landscape.

“Growing up, I witnessed how inequitable health systems impacted my community. Many members of my community were unable to access the support they needed to thrive due to various obstacles that those with the most privilege in society don’t face: language barriers, lack of knowledge of how to navigate complex health care systems, and power dynamics with providers who did not take the health concerns of women who are people of color seriously.”

Dalma Diaz, Homelessness and Health Care

Dalma DiazDalma Diaz will work with the Advancing People-Centered Care team to improve care delivery and outcomes for Californians experiencing homelessness, particularly those with complex health needs who have not been well served by the status quo.

“My interest in health care comes from the fact that Medi-Cal and Medicare are some of the most expansive and powerful safety-net systems we have, and if we can improve how health care services are delivered to people experiencing homelessness, the impact would be tremendous!”

Sequoia Hall, Improving Access

Sequoia HallSequoia Hall will work with the Improving Access team to expand the workforce in areas not well served by the health care system so that providers reflect the communities they serve. She will work with the team to improve health equity for Medi-Cal enrollees by expanding timely access to high-quality, culturally competent care.

“Early in my career, I was focused on becoming a primary care physician to provide quality care for people who need it the most. My work leading community health initiatives allowed me to impact communities on a larger scale, which pivoted my interests to diversifying the health care workforce. I see this fellowship as a call to action for me to expand my expertise to improve health care delivery systems and access to care for low-income communities in California.”

About the Health Equity Fellows Program

In 2021, CHCF launched the Health Equity Fellows program to support our vision for health equity for all Californians. The mission of this program is to identify, develop, and support emerging leaders who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and have the capacity to become local and regional catalysts for health equity across California.

  • This two-year fellowship focuses on developing emerging BIPOC leaders via leadership development, training, and experience with grantmaking for health equity-centered work.
  • Fellows are full-time, fully benefited, exempt employees of CHCF. Over the two-year fellowship, they will be trained to assume the position of program officer and receive professional and leadership development support.

As full-time, fully benefited employees, fellows are an integral part of our CHCF staff. In collaboration with a program team and other partners, the fellows bring their experiences and perspectives to CHCF’s heath equity focus, with each fellow deepening their expertise in their program area while working to support and develop strategies to achieve the program’s goals using the levers of philanthropy.

In addition to their programmatic work, the fellows participate in cohort-based trainings and professional development activities designed to support BIPOC leadership. Upon completing the program, we hope that fellows will have an expanded set of skills, a more diverse network, and a deeper understanding of how their health equity lens could be applied in any number of career areas, including health policy, health care delivery, philanthropy, or the broader civil sector.

Program Dates

The inaugural cohort will be with CHCF from October 2021 through October 2023.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The California Health Care Foundation is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff and will honor your experiences, perspectives, and unique identity. We believe the power of diversity enriches all of us by exposing us to a range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and to discover, design, and deliver solutions. Read more about CHCF’s diversity, equity, and inclusion vision.

CHCF does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, prior contact with the criminal justice system, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Collage by Favianna Rodriguez, © 2020,