Health Leadership Fellows

Health Leadership Fellows Cohort 10: Now Accepting Applications!

The Health Foundation is now accepting applications for Health Leadership Fellows Cohort 10. While this session was postponed in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, we recognize that this continuing crisis illustrates the importance of ensuring our health care leaders are supported and provided opportunities to grow, collaborate and develop new levels of expertise.

In light of ongoing health regulations, some aspects of the program will be delivered in a re-imagined way to ensure the safety of all participants, but we are committed to providing a valuable and effective program for our newest Fellows. Applications are due by December 21, 2020 and virtual interviews will begin in early 2021. We plan to conduct the pre-work for Cohort 10 virtually over the spring and summer months of 2021. The first in-person residential session (contingent on safety regulations and recommendations) is planned for October 2021.

Information sessions will be held virtually for those who wish to learn more about the program on the following dates. Click on the dates below to register. These sessions are optional and both sessions will offer the same information, so interested applicants should attend only one if they choose.

Info Session #1: October 14, 2020 at 2pm
Info Session #2: November 12, 2020 at 11am

Read more and view the application here. If you have any questions, please email Nancy Blaschak, Health Leadership Fellows Program Director, at



Our vision of improving health care for older adults and young children impacted by poverty depends on the work of advocates in the community. When the leaders at local non-profits share a sense of purpose, they can work together to solve the region’s toughest health issues.

Every day, there’s growing pressure on those leaders to deliver better health outcomes at lower costs, in a health care sector undergoing vast regulatory and technological changes. On top of that are the challenges faced by many non-profits: working within silos results in gaps or duplication of services, inefficient use of data and missed opportunities to share best practices.

To build a network of skilled leaders who will take on these challenges collaboratively, the Foundation created the Health Leadership Fellows program. The goal of the Health Leadership Fellows Program is to develop and strengthen a network of collaborative leaders with organizations and systems that serve young children impacted by poverty and older adults. One of our earliest and longest-running programs, the Fellows program has trained hundreds of non-profit professionals on leadership, communication and collaboration since 2005.

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. 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 300 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.

In fact, many of the projects begun by fellows have thrived and grown, as alumni continue their collaboration through the Fellows Action Network. Today, their projects are still benefiting the health of older adults and children impacted by poverty.

Through a Social Network Analysis, we have been able to see a picture of how relationships cultivated through the Fellows program have resulted in collaborations, and how those collaborations have improved health outcomes.

For example, one successful network formed by FAN members is the Trauma-Informed Community Initiative of WNY Coalition. It began in 2008, when a small group of Health Leadership Fellows began developing ideas for a volunteer network to provide services informed by an understanding of trauma.

The initial group included three members of the first class of fellows: Jim Casion, now retired CEO of Baker Victory Services; Kate Grimm, M.D.; and Dennis C. Walczyk, CEO of Catholic Charities. Today, seven fellows are members of the coalition.

With funding from the Health Foundation, the group is working to develop and implement a Greater Buffalo Trauma-Informed System of Care Community Plan.

Fellows Cohorts 1-3


Fellows Cohorts 4-9