The Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership

MICHL group talking

In the face of long standing and persistent health inequities, it is imperative that today’s leaders are equipped to respond to increased demands for racial equity. As health care leaders think about structural racism and health inequity, they must understand how their organizations both are impacted by and influenced by those systematic issues. Therefore, they must become fluent in the language of structural, cultural, and institutional racism.

The Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership (MICHL), a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, develops evolving leaders to: increase their own personal impact; strengthen their effectiveness in their organization; enhance the organization's influence in the health care system; and understand effective leadership in the context of privilege, health inequities, and racial equity.

MICHL began in the fall of 2005, and since then, more than 180 emerging leaders have actively participated in this nine-month experiential program.  In 2014, we recognized the need to modify our program to help participants understand more concretely how structural racism and racial inequities in health impacts the health care system and how confronting these factors is a racial and social justice issue.

During the upcoming MICHL program, we will continue our explicit focus on structural racism and will dissect how the pandemic and the racial justice movement impacted the health care system and the lives of people who depend on the system. 

Our faculty are selected for their expertise and their understanding of how to create change built through lived experiences of creating systemic change conceptually and practically. Their work is rooted in the need to dismantle the racism that is embedded in the health care system. You will be learning with and from people who have the experiences of building and holding coalitions, envisioning powerful futures, and addressing key stakeholder and/or organizational resistance.  The faculty come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and countries of origin. In addition to the assets they bring, they are selected to teach in MICHL because they also bring with them the desire to co-create the best learning experiences for our participants.

What makes MICHL unique rests in the length, depth, and experiential nature of the program. The program takes place over nine months because real change takes time.  Over those nine months, the program engages a diverse cohort in affinity groups to explore and discuss structural racism and racial inequity in health, and identify the steps to address structural racism and organizational resistance within the health care systems. 


  • The skills to more effectively engage in discussions of structural racism within and outside of your institution
  • A stronger and more distinctive voice to confidently lead within your organization
  • A robust network of peers

Alumni Network

Your graduation from the MICHL program is not the end of your MICHL experience. In alternate years, we offer ongoing learning and networking opportunities designed specifically to inform and renew both the skills and the spirit of leading and leadership.

For more information, please email Sharon Bueno Washington.