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The inaugural cohort of California Health Care Foundation’s (CHCF) Health Equity Fellows is composed of four outstanding leaders who represent California’s diversity and provide a glimpse into the bright future of health care. People Power had the honor of working with CHCF in the search process and developed a close bond with the brilliant participants. The fellows were selected through an extremely competitive application process and truly immersed themselves in the mission of the program: to identify, develop, and support emerging leaders who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and have the capacity to become local and regional catalysts for health equity across California.

The 2021–24 fellows worked on four project areas aligned with CHCF’s strategies for supporting health equity: Homelessness and Health Care, Improving Access, Health Policy, and Impact Investing. Below are reflections about their experience and a look into their next career goals.

Sequoia Hall

Focus: Improving Access

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What is something you learned at CHCF?

My time at CHCF has deeply influenced my approach, molding me into a strategic thinker who sees the interconnectedness of systems and the importance of collaboration. Drawing from my own life experiences and past professional work with creating pathways for systems-affected youth to thrive in the health workforce, I’ve become adept at co-creating and implementing programs and policies aimed at enhancing the health and well-being of low-income Californians.

What are you looking forward to next career-wise?

I’m drawn to organizations driven by a mission to empower communities; organizations that understand the vital role of collaboration in improving health care quality, providing essential social services, and fostering economic stability for those on Medi-Cal and with low incomes. It’s not just a career path for me; it’s a calling to be a catalyst for positive change, rooted in genuine partnership with those I serve. I am open to roles in the Bay Area.

Read Sequoia’s Blog Post Sowing the Seeds of a Diverse Health Care Workforce

Find her in LinkedIn here

Kenna Chic

Focus: Health Policy

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What is something you learned at CHCF?

My role at CHCF has not only enriched my experience with traditional grantmaking but also provided me with a comprehensive, multi-sectoral perspective on health reform. Throughout this journey, my focus has been on dismantling the societal barriers encountered by historically marginalized communities, which is a continuation of my work at the federal level. At CHCF, I have gained deeper insight into the mechanisms of state-level change and have furthered my unwavering dedication to transforming health care into a more accessible, affordable, culturally competent, consensual, and effective system, particularly in my home state of California.

What are you looking forward to next career-wise?

Moving forward, I am seeking opportunities where I can leverage my background in government, philanthropy, and the non-profit sector to address critical issues such as behavioral health, health equity, and the integration of artificial intelligence within health care. I am particularly captivated by the potential of emerging technologies to influence equity, especially within the realms of philanthropy and policy. I am also interested in transitioning my focus towards health tech start-ups, where I aim to use my extensive knowledge of the health and disability policy to guide innovations through the complex landscape of health and regulatory ecosystem. I am open to roles in California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC.

See Kenna’s Presentation on CSPAN (starting at the 19:25 mark)

Find her in LinkedIn here

Dalma Diaz

Focus: Homelessness and Health Care

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What is something you learned at CHCF?

As a fellow at CHCF, I found my voice. From moderating panels to making my first television appearance in Spanish, being able to communicate to my community in our native language cemented the importance of having diverse representation in the health field and in philanthropy. Blending expertise with lived experience is vital for building meaningful connection and person-centered systems of care. I can now continue to cultivate my role as a connector of people, ideas, and mission.

What are you looking forward to next career-wise?

I want to strengthen our health care safety net and drive meaningful implementation of new reforms like CalAIM, which bridges social services and health care delivery. It’s important to me that I continue working alongside communities, amplifying the voices of those most impacted, and driving greater cross-sector partnership. I am interested in the role Managed Care can play in this moment of great opportunity, where we are closer to ensuring that all people have what they need to be well and thrive. I am interested in opportunities in Los Angeles and Southern California.

Read Dalma’s Blog Post Using My Voice to Bridge Different Worlds

Find her in LinkedIn here

Janet Boachie

Focus: Impact Investing

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What is something you learned at CHCF?

My fellowship at CHCF gave me opportunities to increase diversity in the health tech ecosystem through impact investing. As a former entrepreneur and daughter of Ghanaian immigrants who did not see myself reflected in the investment world, I was able to build community and connections with incredible innovators, operators, and delivery system leaders of color who are seeking to improve health care. I was able to present to our Board, deeply connect with our grantees through our ecosystem work that involved accelerators as well as sponsoring entrepreneurs to attend health tech conferences, and pushed myself to find and invest in companies that align with our investment strategy. I am now amplifying voices through the new CHCF Innovation Fund podcast “Making Waves in Health Tech,” which I co-host.

What are you looking forward to next career-wise?

I am looking forward to starting my new role at The California Endowment as Impact Investment Associate. Focused on Mission Related Investments, I will be joining the Impact Investing team to steward a portfolio aligned with the organization’s mission and values that align to my own of expanding accessible health care for underserved individuals and changing the narrative around health to ensure justice for all Californians. This new opportunity will include structuring investments in venture capital, private equity, and affordable housing. Leveraging my strong investment background and passion for social impact, I’ll contribute to shaping a future where capital serves the greater good.

Read Janet’s Blog Post How My Grandmother Inspired Me to Connect Health Tech and Health Equity

Find her in LinkedIn here

We are proud to work with leaders like the fellows and organizations like California Health Care Foundation. We invite you to learn more about their work below.