Oakland, CA

Senior Program Officer, California Health Care Foundation
The Organization

The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. CHCF’s work is oriented around three goals, each staffed by a team at the foundation:

1.    Improving access to coverage and care for low-income Californians

2.    Ensuring high-value care

3.    Laying the foundations

Position Overview

The High-Value Care Team


We improve the health of low-income Californians by reducing their chances of receiving unwanted, ineffective, and unnecessary care. We focus on issues based on their broad population impact or high cost to the system as a whole. Currently, we are working to improve quality and cost in the following areas:

  • Care for people with complex needs, including mental illness and substance use disorder
  • Maternity care: improving the health of mothers and babies by reducing unnecessary interventions and delivering appropriate care
  • Serious illness and end-of-life care, including expanding access to palliative care


Position Overview


The senior program officer (SPO) will build, manage, and monitor a portfolio of grant programs aligned with the foundation’s strategy around behavioral health integration for low-income Californians, with a focus on improving outcomes for people with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorder. (See our website for more detailed information). This position has the potential to assume responsibilities in other areas over time.

This is a full-time exempt position and reports to the director of the High-Value Care team.


Primary Responsibilities


  • In collaboration with the HVC team and other partners, lead work that integrates behavioral and physical health care to improve care for patients with complex needs. Approaches include:
    • Build and maintain expertise in the fields of behavioral health integration and complex care. Develop relationships with colleagues working in these arenas in California and nationally to understand practice and policy issues, barriers, and solutions, and cultivate partners to help drive change. Keep abreast of key trends and activities in the California health care environment, specifically as they pertain to the HVC portfolio.
    • Develop strategies to achieve foundation goals, using the levers of philanthropy: identifying evidence-based clinical models, deploying policy solutions to support spread of these models in the delivery system, finding reimbursement options to ensure sustainability, ensuring data and measures are available to drive improvement efforts, and supporting workforce development.
    • Use these strategies to develop a portfolio of projects to advance the goals, including work to seed and spread innovations in the delivery system and the policy arena, and work to research, evaluate, and share best practices. Projects require working with potential grantees to develop proposals (scopes of work, budgets, workplans), preparing proposals for internal peer review (requiring concise and compelling writing), and ongoing communications and oversight of the project, all while learning and correcting course when needed. The following examples in the High-Value Care portfolio illustrate the type of work the program officer would develop and oversee:
      • Delivery system improvements. Work with the Transitions Clinic Network to improve care for people leaving incarceration: technical assistance, training, and coaching to help 25 California clinics implement a program integrating community health workers onto care teams.
      • Policy. Support a consulting firm to provide technical assistance for the implementation of the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, and commission publications to share progress.
      • Payment. Design and launch a learning collaborative with health plans and palliative care providers to develop mechanisms to grow and support outpatient palliative care.
      • Convenings. Work with other funders to support a task force to provide recommendations on improving maternal mental health.
      • Program-related investments. Work with the CHCF Innovation Fund team to invest in Quartet, a company working to improve coordination of care between behavioral health and primary care.
    • Work collaboratively with colleagues to disseminate the results of projects through publications, social media, convenings, or other outlets and to align work with CHCF’s policy priorities. This involves writing blog articles, commissioning work, developing content, editing drafts, and working with External Engagement colleagues to release high-quality publications.
    • Participate in and present lessons learned at local, state, and national meetings and conferences.
  • Respond to requests for information and assistance, troubleshoot, and connect people to resources.
  • Contribute to the overall success of CHCF through foundation-wide activities and improvement teams (recent examples include deploying a new grants administration system and developing systems to measure progress on bodies of work).
  • Based on the needs of the organization, lead new or existing work in other topic areas within High-Value Care.

Minimum Qualifications

The ideal candidate will possess most of the following:

  • Master’s degree in related field.
  • At least seven years of project management, operations, or applied research experience in health organizations; behavioral health system experience a plus.
  • Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills, including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings, translating complex ideas into clear, easy-to-understand concepts.
  • Demonstrated experience independently developing and managing complex projects: setting goals, developing strategies, managing tasks, tracking workplans and measuring outcomes, adjusting as needed based on progress. Ability to translate concepts into actions, with the courage to take calculated risks.
  • Learning orientation with the ability to adapt quickly to change; strong appetite for complexity, and tolerance for uncertainty.
  • Ability to multitask and to meet deadlines, as well as demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail.
  • Ability and willingness to travel approximately 10% of the time.

To Apply

To apply for a position at CHCF, please submit your interest via our online application system. Unless otherwise noted, we will accept resumes until a position is filled, and we will try to let you know the status of your application in a timely manner. Candidates passing the initial screen will be asked to submit writing samples prior to interviews.

This position is based in our Oakland office.

The California Health Care Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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