September 19th, 2019
On September 19, 2019, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced former Denver Health CEO and Lown Board member Dr. Patricia Gabow as the latest recipient of the Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care. The Lienhard Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in improving health care services in the United States, will be presented to Gabow at the NAM National Meeting on October 21.
Dr. Gabow spent 20 years as CEO of Denver Health and Hospital Authority (DHHA), a safety net hospital system serving one of the poorest populations in Colorado. She is credited with transforming DHHA from a struggling public hospital system into a national model of integrated, fiscally stable, and high-quality care. During her tenure as CEO, Denver Health became recognized as the premier Level-One trauma system in Colorado, achieved an 80 percent immunization rate among low-income children, and had the lowest observed to expected mortality rate among 117 academic health centers nationwide. As if that weren’t enough, Gabow has spent many years advocating for improvements in health care delivery and investments in social determinants of health.
Dr. Gabow’s medical background and commitment to social mission contributed to her ability to lead Denver Health to success. Rather than “treat the symptoms” of administrative problems, Gabow trusted data collection and research to find the root causes. She united the employees as a family of committed people working together to deliver better health to the whole community.
“Dr. Gabow has changed the notion of what a local safety net hospital can be by transforming Denver Health into a highly integrated health care system that serves everyone,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau in the NAM press release. “Not only did she make Denver Health a national model of success, she created a culture where all employees embodied the best values of health care – respect, collaboration, and relentless commitment to continuous improvement. She is most deserving of this prestigious award.”