Health Leadership Spring 2010 Newsletter

HLP graphic image

Sierra Health Foundation's Health Leadership Program is designed to strengthen the leadership skills of current and potential executives at nonprofit organizations and public agencies whose mission is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of Northern Californians.

Applications for Class X, beginning in October 2010, are due June 1. Visit Sierra Health Foundation's Web site for information and application materials.

- Graduation ceremony honors, inspires Class IX
- Class IX team projects make an impact
- Alumni update
- Listening L.A.W.S.
- Leaders on the move


Graduation ceremony honors, inspires Class IX

Class IX of the Health Leadership Program celebrated their graduation on March 26 at Sierra Health Foundation. Family, friends and colleagues gathered as the 31 classmates were recognized for their six months of leadership training and transformation.

Claire Pomeroy, M.D., M.B.A., UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, delivered an inspiring and motivating commencement address. Class IX was welcomed into the HLP Alumni by two alumni members, Taurus Jackson (Class VIII) and Kurt Chismark (Class V). Liz Pazdral was chosen by her classmates to speak about their time together and the importance of practicing leadership with confidence and integrity.

To close the formal ceremonies, the graduating class honored the collaborative work of Sierra Health Foundation and the University of Southern California by commemorating their time together with framed and signed class photos. The ceremony was followed by a lovely reception, which included live mariachi music.

Congratulations, Class IX!

Photo of Class IX


Class IX team projects make an impact for nonprofits and communities

As part of the Health Leadership Program, class members work on team projects to practice new leadership skills, learn from each other, and use and expand their networks and resources to examine issues affecting nonprofit organizations and health concerns in the region. During Class IX's last session, the teams presented their projects to the group. These projects were the culmination of six months of collaborative work and study. They highlighted individual core values, the power of strategy mapping and the interconnectedness of program fellows.

Photo of La Visita Amigable project team

La Visita Amigable (Friendly Visitors)

Team members: Barbara Clifford, Cibonay Cordova, Leslie Reece, Andrew Frishman and Mary Nakamura (alumni member). The HLP alumni group continues to explore ways to foster connections developed by class members during the program, and to strengthen relationships between individuals and organizations across classes. The team created a framework designed to strengthen the network of HLP class members, alumni members and their organizations through constructive site visits. Authentic interactions during the site visits forge bonds, build regional capacity and encourage identification of new partners.

Photo of 7th and H Street Clinic project team

7th and H Street Clinic

Team members: Kathy Rothberg, Kunal Merchant, David Husid and Marshall Graves. The team prepared a market study report on medical service recommendations for a ground-floor clinic at a proposed 150-unit, new construction, affordable housing project in downtown Sacramento. The clinic would serve the needs of future residents (50 percent homeless and 50 percent low income) and the surrounding neighborhoods. The team surveyed 350 residents to provide feedback for the report.

Photo of Placement Interruptions project team

Placement Interruptions (Foster Care)

Team members: Wendy Petko, Marta McKenzie, Kara Yegge, Francine DiCiano, Jeff Henderson and Marsha Lewis-Akyeem. The team contacted directors of the top 10 counties in California for foster care placement stability to complete a survey. The survey solicited feedback on what processes/systems they implemented to increase placement stability and attempts to reunify children with their families in the shortest amount of time. The information will be used to help other counties improve their procedures with the primary goal of reducing placement disruption for children.

Photo of LifeSTEPS project team


Team members: Matt Cervantes, Nansea Arquette, Bruno Marchesi, Shane Brock, Niti Gupta and Monica Biley. The team worked with LifeSTEPS, a nonprofit organization that offers life skills training and educational programs, to provide feedback on its assets and strategy to achieve its mission and vision. They assessed the Web site, curriculum and its sites. The goal was to provide information that will help improve LifeSTEPS' after-school programs. On May 4 and 5, eight members of LifeSTEPS' after-school and social services staff attended a training organized by the Sacramento START Program supervisor and HLP Class IX member Bruno Marchesi. The training, which covered topics such as youth development, behavior guidance, enrichment and recreation, was a follow-up based on the project team's recommendations to the organization.

Photo of Healthy Balance 3 project team

Healthy Balance 3

Team members: Juan Prieto, Sher Barber and Katy Robb. The team created a manual on “How to Start a Non-Profit Organization.” The manual includes information on creating a legal framework, strategic planning, grant writing and a directory of services.

Photo of Sacramento Food Co-Op project team

Sacramento Food Co-Op

Team members: Galen El-Askari, Adela del Valle Gonzalez, Liz Pazdral and Cathy LeBlanc. The team researched existing farm-to-school programs that members of the Sacramento Food Collaborative could use in their planning and goal setting. They also created a white paper about farm-to-school programs, which can be used as an advocacy tool and research paper to provide information to school districts.

Photo of Youth Policy and Advocacy project team

Youth Policy and Advocacy

Team members: Homero Meija, Koua Jacklyn Franz, Sergio Cuellar and Sammy Nuñez. The team convened a group of young people to provide a space for sharing and learning about policy and advocacy for and by young people. Their goal is to continue to provide these opportunities.


Alumni update

With the addition of the Class IX graduates, the Health Leadership Program Alumni now has 240 members. Alumni meetings are held periodically to re-establish connections, reinforce leadership lessons and address new topics to enhance members' leadership skills. On March 19, alumni members participated in a Funding Proposal Seminar, which focused on identifying personal and professional road blocks to obtaining grant funding, identifying stages of grant writing, learning new techniques to be successful at each stage, increasing confidence in the grant writing process and committing to giving and getting assistance.

Lynn Thull, Ph.D. (Class IV) facilitated this process with 20 alumni participants. In her role as an independent consultant for more than 10 years, she has worked with a large number of organizations of all sizes and has seen good and bad ways to do things. Lynn did a great job of pulling from the strengths of the alumni. Many participants shared their insights and successes in this process, creating a community of learning.

Tammy White (Class I) reflects on the impact of HLP
Because of the Health Leadership Program, I feel positive and make a difference in practice because my colleagues and I try to meet to brainstorm to improve difficult situations at least monthly, and I believe I contribute a lot to the challenges we face daily. We are champions in our community, and we are change agents simply by thinking outside the box, and trying to understand and meet patients where they are. When we have understanding, support and buy in, then we create change or new programs, or find ways to re-create something existing that meets community needs in a different way. I am happy to be a healthcare provider and leader. And I continue to be proud that I am an alum of the program. (Tammy White is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Northern Valley Indian Health.)

Learn about seven other alumni members who are making an impact in their communities.


Listening L.A.W.S.

We all share in the responsibility to get things done. Help your associates solve their problems and have some accountability for the results by asking, “How can we solve this together?” You can disagree with someone without being disagreeable. Use the Listening L.A.W.S to respect the other person’s perspective and create shared responsibility.

L.A.W.S. graphic

Laree Kiely introduced the Listening L.A.W.S. in her sessions for the Health Leadership Program. The Kiely Group is in the process of producing a training video for this tool and they would like to hear how you have used this tool at work or home. (Because, as you may remember, it is a great tool for that 16-year-old who wants you to buy a car.) If you have a great application, they may even include your story in the video. E-mail your stories or questions about L.A.W.S. or just say hello at


Leaders on the move

Speranza Avram (Class III) has been named Executive Director of the California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization in Oakland.

Warren Daniels (Class II) has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Community Recovery Resources in Grass Valley.

Bob David (Class II) is now Regional Executive with the American Hospital Association.

Rachel Farrell (Class VI) is running for Yuba County Supervisor, District 1.

Michelle Johnston (Class VII) has joined Center for Health Improvement as Senior Program Specialist.

Ann Knickelbein (Class V) now teaches Public Health Nursing in the Sacramento State University Division of Nursing.

Bill Locker (Class III) is now President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo.

Maureen Price (formerly Pierce) (Class I) is leaving her position as CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the North Valley. She will relocate to Sacramento in July and is actively seeking new career opportunities there.

Kim Rhinehelder (Class VII) has become Vice President of Philanthropy for the Eskaton Foundation.

James Tillman (Class VIII) is now an AOD Counselor with Full Circle Treatment Center in Roseville.

Tammy White (Class I) is Family Nurse Practitioner with Northern Valley Indian Health in Willows and Chico.

Joe Xavier (Class VIII) has been appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger as Deputy Director for the Specialized Service Division, Blind and Visually Impaired and Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Sierra Health Foundation · 1321 Garden Hwy, Sacramento, CA 95833
916.922.4755 · fax 916.922.4024 ·