In preparation for the 2020 Conscious Cities Festival Denver event, Shaping Health, Conscious Denver will be featuring the work of our event speakers to share how they are impacting change in Denver and beyond. In this segment, we are excited to introduce Jandel Allen-Davis MD, President and CEO of Craig Hospital, and Diane Reinhard, VP of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer at Craig Hospital, a spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Denver, Colorado.
As the CEO of Craig Hospital, and formerly as the VP of Government, External Relations, and Research for Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Jandel plays a fundamental role in the conversation around shaping health in the state of Colorado. Jandel has dedicated her life to community health, beginning with a degree from Dartmouth in sociology to pursue her interest in the behavior of groups. That fascination stuck with her through medical school and twenty-five years of clinical practice. Her current administrative duties and community involvement draw on a lifetime of experience and passion all focused on building stronger communities and its direct impact on health outcomes. Actively addressing these community health needs is Jandel’s life work, or in her words, her “hard work and heart work.” Public health assessments have shown that primary health concerns include: access to health care and coverage, food insecurity, access to opportunities for active living, economic mobility, and housing. Jandel seeks to broaden that list to address the specific concerns of people with disabilities and additionally includes: access to healthcare specifically geared to people with disabilities, dental health, and addressing social isolation. Jandel’s work to shape community health extends well beyond her official role at Craig Hospital. She is an active board member for multiple local organizations, all focused on shaping health, in all of its forms. Jandel discussed two components for creating healthier communities by changing the calculus of racial and socioeconomic disparities: education and economic mobility. Towards this goal, Jandel is a founding member of the Colorado Inclusive Economy, a collaborative effort of CEOs and business leaders who have committed to learning, mentoring, and setting numbers to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in local corporations. Jandel described the need to go beyond just recruiting people of color towards the goal of retaining and advancing, in an effort to build sustainable economic mobility.
Diane plays a pivotal role at Craig Hospital. Drawing on her clinical and administrative expertise, Diane manages multiple departments at the hospital along with supporting outreach in the broader community, including her work as a board member with the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. Diane is a firm believer that healthy communities define health and implements this conviction through community engagement, volunteer work, and sponsorship.
As a rehabilitation hospital for spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, Craig Hospital’s mission is to be less patient-centered and more family-centered, with the understanding that immediate families and more broadly communities must play a pivotal role in patient care and fostering long-term independence. Families are included in patient conferences, therapies, and daily routines. The initial response to Covid19 was primarily a technical exercise including a strict mask requirement, visitor restrictions, and rigorous cleaning four times a day resulting in no Covid19 cases among staff or patients in the hospital. Beyond the technical response is the cultural exercise that called for an increase in communication between the administrators and staff and patients. This was especially important as the role of the clinicians and staff shifted to become something resembling a foster-family for the patients, considering the absence of de facto family members due to Covid19 restrictions. Jandel expressed a constant focus on building and maintaining supportive communities to increase health outcomes both at Craig and throughout the broader community. One of the positive consequences of the pandemic has been the increase in sharing best practices between healthcare organizations within the city, increasing standardization which improves healthcare outcomes. Diane hopes that this pandemic will result in substantive change for the city of Denver, that we will learn just how much space matters in the urban landscape.
When asked about what Denver is doing well in terms of Shaping Health, Diane views the increase in diversity in Denver, especially in city leadership as a strong asset. She believes that continuing to increase diversity will open new possibilities for conversations that lead to strengthening communities, which in turn will lead to better health outcomes. Jandel is proud of the work of large and small organizations promoting health, such as the initiative at the Denver Botanic Gardens that is teaching veterans to farm, the Barbershop and Salon Program organized by the Black Health Collaborative, GirlTrek Denver that encourages self-care and health for Black women through daily walks, the Colorado Health Foundation and its focus on rural health, and the new communally inclusive Dahlia Campus for health and well-being built by the Mental Health Center of Denver. In addition to non-profit organizations, the people of Denver have passed several bonds that have created meaningful, lasting impact including the social impact bond to break the revolving door of homelessness to jail to hospital for over 300 chronically homeless people in Denver.
As healthcare administrators and community advocates, Jandel and Diane are building community and shaping health in Denver. Join Jandel and Diane on October 22, 2020 to learn more about how they and others are Shaping Health in Denver!
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