The Powerful Pathways of Diverse San Francisco Bay Area Community Health Leaders

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Community Health Leaders (CHL) Program offers a rare opportunity to recognize innovative leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to increasing access to quality health care and improving health outcomes at the community level.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Program, a program of the RWJF Human Capital Portfolio, commissioned an evaluation of San Francisco Bay area Community Health Leaders. This report highlights the results of the qualitative study that drew data from a leadership dialogue circle, biographical interviews of nine San Francisco Bay recipients, and background document reviews. The report analyzed the influential forces and defining events that shaped CHLs’ path to leadership.

Key Findings:

  • Key influences and formative experiences stem from CHL’s parents’ influences in their upbringing. Additionally, powerful youth programs and inspiring mentors were important.
  • CHLs can track the origins of their community health leadership work back to their early devotion to community service.
  • Living abroad or immigrating to the United States increased CHL’s commitment to diverse communities in need.
  • Coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement provided a critical backdrop for real life learning and helped several CHLs overcome adversity and find their inner strength.