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Executive development program helps communities

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An estimated 4,000 people are homeless on any given night in Cleveland, Ohio. Francis Afram-Gyening is taking actions to change this situation, especially for the extremely poor living with mental illness and disabilities.

Afram-Gyening is chief executive officer of Care Alliance, a health care center that services the disadvantaged. He also is among nearly 680 U.S. executives who have graduated from the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program (HCEP). This leadership and management development initiative sharpens leaders’ skills so they can help their community-based organizations improve and expand care for the people they serve.

Founded in 2002, the HCEP is a joint effort between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Johnson & Johnson. The program gives participants 11 days of intensive leadership and management development through the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Participants work on multiple capabilities, such as communication, technology, strategy development and financial skills. The program also inspires executives to create and set in motion a Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP).

For Care Alliance, the HCEP experience in 2011 inspired Afram-Gyening to launch a CHIP that brings together mental health and primary care services to support homeless individuals, including those who have been living on the streets for many years. After completing the HCEP, Afram-Gyening led his team in the launch of a three-year project that will help 230 chronically homeless individuals find safe and supportive housing.

“Experience shows us that people who have been entrenched in homelessness for decades can be transitioned into permanent supportive housing when provided with flexible, patient-centered comprehensive services,” says Afram-Gyening. “The HCEP was the catalyst for this exciting and invigorating initiative.”

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