Health Leadership Fellows


When the leaders at local nonprofits collaborate and share a sense of purpose, they can work together to solve the region’s toughest health issues.

Most nonprofit leaders would agree: working in silos results in gaps or duplication of services, inefficient use of data and missed opportunities to share best practices. This lack of collaboration makes it harder for nonprofit leaders to achieve their mission and improve the lives of the people they serve.

To build a network of skilled leaders who will take on these challenges collaboratively, the Health Foundation created the Health Leadership Fellows program in 2005. The goal of the Health Leadership Fellows Program is to develop and strengthen a diverse network of collaborative leaders with organizations and systems that serve young children and older adults in western and central New York. One of our earliest and longest-running programs, the Fellows program has strengthened collaboration among hundreds of nonprofit professionals.

The program is designed for current leaders of health-related nonprofit organizations, safety-net organizations and public agencies that address the needs of older adults or young children impacted by poverty, ideally including a commitment to racial and/or socioeconomic equity. Fellows must be in leadership roles, with tenure of at least five years in a management role, and have a strong commitment to and involvement with their local community.

People who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or from other under-represented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please note that independent consultants do not meet eligibility criteria for this program.

Successful applicants are vital leaders of organizations and their communities. They must be in senior leadership positions of influence and have decision-making responsibilities in the organizations they represent. Other factors including commitment to course requirements; experience and career aspirations; adaptability to change; receptivity to learning; ability and willingness to apply lessons learned and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively. The commitment by the organization’s leadership to the participant’s engagement with the Health Leadership Fellows program is essential throughout the fellowship.

What the Program Includes
Each cohort of fellows is made up of about 40 professionals from health-related and safety net organizations throughout western and central New York.

The intensive 18-month program includes four two- to three-day residential sessions on topics including personal leadership, leading change, communicating as a leader and results-based leadership and collaboration. Fellows must also attend three day-long seminars scheduled throughout the program. Ongoing learning happens between sessions, where fellows work together on an inter-organizational project in small teams. Each fellow also gets executive coaching and access to the program’s learning materials.

Graduates of the Health Leadership Fellows program continue their collaborative work as members of the Fellows Action Network. To learn more about the history of the Fellows program, watch the “History of the Health Leadership Fellows Program” or download “Building Lasting Connections: An Investment in Leadership.”

For a brief overview of the program, watch the video below:



More than 400 leaders in western and central New York have graduated from Health Leadership Fellows since the program began.

Taking what they’ve learned from the expert faculty, residential sessions, leadership assessments and coaching sessions, fellows have used new information, relationships and ideas to improve health care for the most vulnerable people in our regions.

Learn more about the impact of Health Leadership Fellows here.