Transforming the Health Care Field

Findings from an evaluation of the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program

Informing Change


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To help California clinicians acquire and effectively deploy the leadership skills needed to address the state’s complex health care challenges, CHCF created a Health Care Leadership Program in 2001. It is a joint venture of CHCF and the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco. The program consists of a two-year fellowship — which admits 32 new fellows each year — and an active alumni network that has grown to 507 graduates to date.

The program’s purpose is to enable clinicians to serve as change agents in shaping more effective and responsive health care in their own organizations and in the broader health care field. Through the alumni network, it supports innovation and collaboration in addressing the state’s toughest health system challenges.

In 2019, CHCF engaged Informing Change, a strategic learning firm, to conduct an evaluation to measure the extent to which program alumni have drawn on the skills, relationships, resources, and opportunities they acquired through the program to effect change within their organizations and in the health care field.

The resulting work, Transforming the Health Care Field, shows that:

  • Nearly all (95%) of the surveyed alumni reported that they have led or directly influenced one or more changes within their organizations. Of those alumni, 83% said the program was “necessary” or “influential” to that positive change.
  • Four in five alumni (82%) reported that they have led or directly influenced one or more changes in the broader health care sector. Of those alumni, 82% said the program was “necessary” or “influential” to the positive change.
  • Ninety-nine percent of alumni said the program “very much” or “somewhat” influenced their ability to be effective leaders. They pointed to four key areas in which they grew:
    • Skills and competencies
    • Confidence and motivation
    • Relationships and interactions
    • Career mobility and satisfaction
  • Alumni value access to other alumni and view the alumni network as a trusted community of peers bonded by shared values, good work, and approaches to leadership. Alumni and other health care leaders praise the network for its role in sustaining relationships critical to health care system improvement.

Opportunities to expand the program’s impact include:

  • Improving regional diversity. Forty-eight percent of program fellows and alumni reside in the Bay Area, compared to 26% of California physicians overall. Other regions of the state are underrepresented in the program.
  • Continuing to improve alumni network communication channels and infrastructure.
  • Exploring opportunities for CHCF and the alumni network to work together on topics of shared strategic interest.