15 days old

Chief of Gastroenterology - Denver Health

Denver Health
Denver, Colorado 80204
  • Job Type

The Opportunity

Denver Health, in collaboration with the University of Colorado, School of Medicine, is seeking a clinically skilled and experienced leader, educator, manager, and communicator for the position of Chief of the Division of Digestive and Liver Health to be based at Denver Health Medical Center. The Chief will have oversight of all care delivered by the Division of Digestive and Liver Health at Denver Health and will provide overall leadership within the Division. The Chief will be responsible for strategic planning, clinical services, professional performance, business performance and medical education for the department.


Denver Health is uniquely positioned as an integrated healthcare system, recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurancefor its passion and commitment in providing exceptional care to the communities it serves. Denver Health is considered a national model of an integrated urban safety net health care system which includes inpatient care, emergency services, community and school-based health centers, correctional care, addictions treatment, public health and an insurance plan.


Denver Health is affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, (UC-SOM) and Denver Health physician faculty have full-time academic appointments at UC-SOM. The Chief has primary responsibility for all aspects of the scholarly and educational programs based at Denver Health and will foster collaboration, innovation and excellence in meeting our joint missions.


The Chief will be an individual who has a passion for providing outstanding care to the underserved, a desire to improve systems and processes to maximize efficiency, the leadership skills to engage staff at all levels and an enduring commitment to training the next generation of physicians.


The Organization

Established in 1860, Denver Health (http://www.denverhealth.org/) is nationally recognized for its mission and the delivery of a broad spectrum of services for the screening, diagnosis of acute/chronic diseases as well as emergent/trauma injuries.   Denver Health is a model for other safety net institutions as an integrated, efficient, high-quality healthcare system.


In 1997, Denver Health transitioned from being a city agency to being a political subdivision of the State of Colorado. The Denver Health and Hospital Authority (DHHA) is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor of Denver and confirmed by the Denver City Council.


Denver Health’s Mission is to:

  • Provide access to the highest quality healthcare, whether for prevention, or acute and chronic diseases, regardless of ability to pay;


  • Provide life-saving emergency medicine and trauma services to Denver and the Rocky Mountain region;
  • Fulfill public health functions as dictated by the Denver Charter and the needs of the citizens of Denver;
  • Provide health education for patients;
  • Participate in the education of the next generation of healthcare professionals; and
  • Engage in research, which enhances our ability to meet the healthcare needs of Denver Health system patients


To achieve its mission, Denver Health integrates acute care with public and community health to deliver preventive, primary and acute care services. This integration promotes continuity of high quality care for each patient. Integration also ensures that healthcare is delivered in the most efficient, cost-effective setting. Today, Denver Health serves a diverse patient population, including low-income and immigrant populations. Each year, Denver Health sees persons from around the world who speak more than 50 languages, most commonly Spanish. In total, Denver Health cares for 25% of all Denver residents, including 37% of all children. With approximately 7,000 employees, Denver Health is the fourth largest employer in Denver.


Denver Health’s achievements in patient care quality, despite the vulnerable status of many of its patients, have become widely known nationally and internationally. All members of the team are deeply committed to making patient safety a top priority and to ensuring that each patient is treated as a unique individual with state-of-the-art medical care. Denver Health strives to eliminate patient harm using technology, redesigning care, reporting concerns and analyzing information to prevent medical errors. The strong culture of patient safety, patient-centered care and high quality at Denver Health is the result of the commitment and focus of the entire team.


Denver Health is committed to changing the delivery system to focus on high-quality cost-effective care; this is best represented by our owned Medicaid, Medicare, exchange and commercial health insurance plans. This source of revenue has created a mandate to manage its population of patients in a cost-effective manner and created opportunities to provide a variety of non-traditional, between-visit services to improve outcomes and reduce costs.


In an era of financial duress in the healthcare industry, Denver Health remains fiscally sound. Over the last decade, Denver Health has delivered $1.4 billion of uncompensated care. Denver Health has gone to the private bond market three times in the last five years with $142 million in investment grade bonds. These dollars have created new infrastructure for the system, including more than a $100 million investment in information technology.


Major components of the Denver Health system

  • Denver Health Medical Center: a 555-bed facility including medical, surgical, psychiatric, obstetric and pediatric units. Denver Health has Level 1 trauma services for adults and Level 2 services for children
  • Emergency Department: adult and pediatric units, a dedicated Psychiatry Emergency Services unit and Mobile Crisis Services
  • Denver Paramedics: the sole provider of emergency medical services for the City and County of Denver, as well as the cities of Sheridan, Glendale and Englewood. The Division responds to more than 113,000 calls each year.
  • Community Health Centers: 9 federally qualified health centers in the Denver neighborhoods of greatest need. In 2017, 164,868 patients were seen within Denver Health’s community and school-based health centers for a total of 566,327 encounters. All primary care clinics have integrated behavioral health services.
  • School Based Health Centers: 17 clinics located in Denver Public School’s middle and high schools, providing primary care, mental health, reproductive health education and insurance enrollment assistance services.
  • Specialty care services: full range of medical, surgical, pediatric, orthopedic and Women’s Care clinics.
  • Outpatient Behavioral Health Services: outpatient specialty treatment for mental health and addictions, including a methadone clinic and neuropsychology.
  • Care for persons in the criminal justice system: medical and behavioral care at the Denver Detention Center, Denver County Jail, the Arapahoe County jail and the Correctional Care Medical Facility, an inpatient unit in the main hospital with telemedicine capabilities.
  • Denver Health Nurse Line: provides 24/7 health advice and recommendations for care, enabling more than 91,000 patients annually to get free and confidential answers to health-related questions.
  • Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center: provides poison and drug information services to medical professionals and the public in Colorado, Nevada, Montana, Hawaii and Wyoming.
  • Denver Health Medical Plan Inc.: Manages over 100,000 covered lives in its commercial, Medicaid, CHP+ and Medicare lines of business.
  • Denver Public Health: epidemiology and informatics, communicable disease control, health promotion and specialized clinical services (clinics for TB, viral hepatitis, STD and Family Planning, HIV care and Immunizations


Denver Health opened an Outpatient Medical Center in 2020 which includes four endoscopy suites as well as outpatient clinic space. This state-of-the-art, patient-centered medical complex will be a significant expansion on Denver Health’s main campus. The Center will bring together all of the services needed for comprehensive specialty outpatient care.


Among leading academic hospitals in the country, Denver Health has ranked (by Vizient) in the top five percent for inpatient survival for three consecutive years and is the only safety net hospital in the United States to be ranked in the top 10 in overall quality. Additionally, Denver Health has been the recipient of two Peak awards from the Baldridge Performance Excellence program.



Position Summary

The Chief for Digestive and Liver Health will be a mid-career to senior faculty member preferably qualified to be appointed to the rank of Associate Professor or Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He/she should have a demonstrated reputation of excellence in clinical care, teaching, collegiality, mentoring and scholarship.


The Chief will have oversight of all care delivered in the Division of Digestive and Liver Health at Denver Health, including active programs in Hepatology and viral hepatitis, digestive health and inflammatory bowel disease, hepatobiliary and pancreatic disorders and robust endoscopy/colonoscopy capabilities including advanced endoscopic treatments. The Chief will provide overall strategic leadership of staff, partner with the Administrative Director, Operations Manager and all support staff who serve patients through the Division of Digestive and Liver Health, including contracted service providers. He/she will have responsibility for strategic planning, clinical services, professional performance, business performance, regulatory compliance, medical education, physician practice and departmental culture. Advancing a culture of excellence in Gastroenterology and related services, the Chief will be dedicated to performance expectations that provide the highest quality patient care and consistency in clinical care standards, driven by patient safety requirements and clinical outcomes monitoring.


Gastroenterology Scope of Practice


Denver Health delivers care to a diverse patient population. Denver Health provides healthcare services to over 210,000 unique patients, 60% of which are from diverse and varied backgrounds.   The patients served by the GI Division speak over 23 different languages, most commonly Spanish.   Denver Health provides care for a large refugee population and is a center of excellence for the LGBTQ+ population.


The Division of Digestive and Liver Health delivers an integrated service model and offers seamless transitions between the outpatient sites and the hospital. Denver Health provides ~4,000 visits per year done at three clinic sites. The outpatient provider team is comprised of Gastroenterologists/Hepatologists Physicians and Physicians Assistants, who work collaboratively to deliver the appropriate care for each patient. Physicians in the Division of Digestive and Liver Health are available for consultation and continuing care for all common and complex digestive and liver disorders as well as a broad spectrum of preventative, consultative, diagnostic and interventional endoscopic services. 


The Digestive and Liver Health Service performs 4,500 procedures annually, including colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, and flexible sigmoidoscopies. The Division also provides diagnostics and interventional procedures such as vibration controlled transient elastography, capsule endoscopy as well as advanced biliary and pancreatic endoscopy.



Denver Health is formally affiliated with the University of Colorado, School of Medicine where all faculty have full-time academic appointments. Denver Health is an essential teaching site for the School of Medicine. Among the 15 GI fellows, approximately 1/3 of their clinical work is at Denver Health. The Department serves additional learners – family medicine residents, emergency medicine residents, medical students, nurse practitioner and physician assistant students.


Reporting Relationships

The Chief of GI will report to the Director of Medicine Services at Denver Health. He/she will have a matrixed reporting relationship to the Chair of Gastroenterology at the CU-SOM exclusively for academic roles and responsibilities.


Chief of GI Direct Reports:


  • Attwell, Augustin MD
  • Heller, J. Christie MD
  • Kirkpatrick, Donald MD
  • Lee, Kevin PA
  • Maraj, Barat MD
  • Martinez-Camacho, Alvaro MD
  • Truesdale, Aimee MD


Chief Oversees:

  • 6 physicians
  • 1 nurse practitioners or physician assistants
  • 3 outpatient clinics
  • Endoscopy Service
  • Inpatient Medical Education
  • Research
  • Community Outreach


Primary Responsibilities


Clinical Expectations

  • Enable and expand access to the high quality clinical services provided by the Division to populations that are currently underserved.
  • Lead and participate in clinical quality initiatives focused on improving the patient experience, patient safety clinical outcomes, enhancing systems to assure timeliness and efficiency and assuring quality while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
  • Promote and oversee development of critical pathways, protocols and practice guidelines that promote quality, cost-effective care for the patient population.
  • Ensure that appropriate quality improvement standards/metrics are established, maintained and reported for the GI Division.
  • Lead efforts to optimize operational efficiency, including patient throughput, patient experience, and appropriate resource utilization within the GI Department
  • Ensure the application of best practices, incorporating regulatory requirements at the local, state, and national level; utilize benchmarking and data analysis from applicable sources.
  • Provide leadership and disseminate practice standards and accountabilities to non-physician GI staff, physicians, residents, fellows and medical students.
  • Drive innovation in care management and establish efficient operational infrastructure in partnership with support staff and operations to optimize resource allocation and timeliness.


Academic Expectations

  • Mentorship of faculty with personalized professional development plans.
  • Oversight of the substance, quality, review and evaluation of graduate medical education in the Division. Function as site fellowship director??
  • Oversight of the quality of medical student education in the Division.
  • Responsibility for the substance, quality, review and evaluation of all research programs within the Division.
  • Oversight of the faculty in accordance with the expectations of the University of Colorado, School of Medicine.
  • Promote scholarly activities by faculty and trainees.
  • Actively engaged and highly respected educator.
  • Promote and support relevant education for all personnel within the Division.
  • Develop and oversee continuing medical education programs for staff at all levels within the Division.
  • Maintain and develop professional knowledge and personal competence through participation in professional organizations and conferences.

Administrative Expectations

  • Oversee the administrative, professional, clinical, financial and educational activities of the Division. Active support is provided by an Operations Manager and an administrative assistant.
  • Ensure a culture of open dialogue with all staff, promote healthy team norms, and develop pathways to support staff and promote wellness.
  • Ensure a culture of diversity and inclusion within the Division of Digestive and Liver Health.
  • Responsible for identifying and addressing areas of inequity in diversity and inclusion by promoting activities that build awareness and acceptance of all individuals.
  • Provide leadership for the development of standards and policies related to the Division.
  • Supervise all staff in clinical and assigned administrative duties.
  • Support and maintain faculty development, recruitment and succession plans. Coordinate financial impact analysis of plans with administration.
  • Encourage participation in research and conference attendance to enhance the reputation of the department.
  • Responsible for ensuring the ethical practice of Gastroenterology and Hepatology within the Department.
    • Promote implementation and enforcement of process standardization initiatives.
    • Ensure faculty meet performance expectations of their services assignment and customer service standards.
    • Assume joint responsibility with Denver Health Administration for compliance with requirements and standards of regulatory agencies and accreditation organizations, including preparation for and participation in relevant surveys.
  • Partners with the Operations Manager in all aspects of Division of Digestive and Liver Health management and planning. Through the Operations Manager, coordinate the activities of GI/Hepatology/Endoscopy teams and staff reporting to them to meet DH missions and annual plans.
  • Ensure that Divisional quality and performance improvement activities are working well and dealt with in the context of Divisional meetings.
  • Establish and maintain high standards of professional practice. Oversee and drive superior patient safety and peer review program.
  • Ensure the department’s compliance with the Medical Staff Bylaws and hospital policies.
  • Create, implement and maintain defined objectives for GI services for clinical improvement, growth, and the expansion of services.
  • Provide leadership while building a cooperative, collaborative and cohesive department.
  • Collaborate with key external entities


Communication/Change Management Expectations

  • Establish appropriate communication channels with physicians, NPs/PAs, nurses and administration that result in trust, alignment and collaborative working relationships, making patient access to resources a high priority.
  • Lead by example: establish open, non-judgmental dialogue, expect a culture of diversity and inclusiveness, welcome constructive criticism from direct reports, admit errors openly, avoid a punitive response to honest mistakes, demonstrate timely responsiveness, and hold others accountable.
  • Coach, mentor, and develop others to build internal capabilities and the talent that facilitates succession.
  • Foster open communication, teamwork and champion change. Effectively manage disagreements and look for opportunities for common ground solutions to disagreements.
  • Continually communicate and drive high priority strategic initiatives to keep leadership focused. Communicate effectively and regularly to Denver Health leadership and to departmental faculty and staff regarding the overall health and performance of the Division.
  • Ensure that information relevant to patient care and treatment options are communicated to patients, families and any referring physicians in a timely fashion.


Expectations for Leadership

The Director will have made significant progress in the following measures of success within the first 12-18 months in the role:

  • Establish him/herself as a credible, trusted and highly collaborative clinical leader among the medical staff, administrative leaders at Denver Health, our Community, and University of Colorado School of Medicine through performance as a professional leader. Cultivate critical relationships inside and outside Denver Health in order to enhance clinical quality, education, scholarship and recruitment. It is essential that the Director be visible and quickly gain credibility.
  • Evaluate current clinical operations and make enhancements with department members and administration that result in improved performance, service excellence, patient experience and more efficient ways to meet patient needs. Of particular importance is timely access to services.
  • Develops a strategic plan which positions the Division for the substantial changes in healthcare, builds on existing strengths of the Department and Division, and aligns future recruitment and growth with the Denver Health’s strategic plans.
  • Continue to enhance the collaborative care culture that strengthens the partnership of physicians and non-physician care providers in delivering outstanding patient care.
  • Foster scholarly work in the department.
  • Establish and review key metrics for patient safety and patient and family engagement. Lead the performance improvement activities within the Division, ensuring high performance in service excellence and outstanding outcomes


Candidate Qualifications

Education/Academic Credentials

  • Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathic Medicine from an accredited school of medicine; Board Certification in Gastroenterology discipline and eligibility for licensure in Colorado are required.
  • Academic credentials ideally qualify he/she to be appointed to the rank of Associate Professor or Professor of Medicine, have a demonstrated local and national reputation of excellence in scholarship, teaching/mentoring and clinical care.
  • Demonstration of successful research in the one or more of the fields of medical education, GI disease treatments, public health and/or epidemiology. A biostatistics background would be highly favorable.



  • Demonstrated success within a Gastroenterology Division. A track record of delivering strong results in mission-driven organizations–preferably those serving vulnerable and Medicaid populations.
  • Demonstrated ability to grow revenues, meet budgets, measure and improve outcomes and take appropriate business risks to achieve goals.
  • A history of academic commitment through excellence in education and/or scholarly work.
  • A history of successful mentorship of colleagues and/or junior faculty in clinical care, research, scholarly work or education.

Preferred Professional Experience

  • Demonstrated leadership achievement in a busy high-performing Division.
  • A strong record as a respected clinician in the area of Gastroenterology and/or Hepatology.
  • Experience in increasing service excellence, including innovation ways of delivering care
  • Attention and focus on maximizing cost effective care delivery and money-saving initiatives while maintaining quality and access to care.
  • Advocacy for marginalized populations including volunteerism, national/international speaking engagements, research/scholarly activity, or notable outstanding experience with these populations in direct clinical care.
  • A history of working successfully with Surgeons, Radiologists and Oncologists, preferably in a collaborative practice.
  • A history of working successfully with Family Physicians and Primary Care Providers, including Advanced Practice Providers to provide excellent consultative services in a patient-centered fashion.

Personal Characteristics

  • A strong understanding of healthcare delivery within academic, teaching and/or safety net health systems.
  • An analytical thinker with proven ability to navigate and execute in a large, complex healthcare organization.
  • A reputation for building clinical excellence and leadership experience directing high quality clinical activities.
  • A strategic problem-solver who can disaggregate complex problems, determine root causes to problems’ manifestations, define and execute target analyses to prove/dispel hypotheses and create effective solutions for change.
  • An ability to inspire and align faculty and staff, both within Gastroenterology and with whom the division interacts. Advocate for the GI Division and its faculty, staff and resources.
  • A strong communicator and diplomat who is able to inspire and effectively communicate with wide and diverse audiences at all levels of the organization and externally.
  • A leader who is analytical and data driven, ability to use metrics to support key decisions. Strong fiscal acumen with experience directing a budget of significant size and complexity.
  • A visible and engaging style. This individual will have a strong interest in people, thoughtful consideration of others and a sense of humor and humility to complement a visible management style. A management style that seeks to share information and welcomes input into the decision-making process.
  • A collaborative approach and demonstrated ability to take an institutional view.
  • Demonstrated political acumen and the necessary skills to orchestrate, optimize and constructively balance the interests of diverse stakeholders.
  • A mentor and developer of people who motivates others to be team players. He/she will ensure accountability, as well as being supportive and open with faculty and staff.
  • A role model of personal and professional integrity, including remarkable personal, professional and clinical ethics.
  • A non-dogmatic, flexible and creative problem-solver when dealing with clinical, administrative, educational or faculty issues.
  • A leader who can delegate responsibilities within the department, not micromanage, and maintain progress toward objectives through collaboration and accountability.


The Community

Denver is the largest city and the capital of Colorado. Denver Metro has a population of 2.8 million people, with a growth rate that has consistently outpaced the national rate every decade since the 1930s. By 2030, Denver Metro’s population is anticipated to increase by nearly 50 percent to almost 3.9 million, with 800,000 new jobs created. Denver has one of the nation’s strongest metropolitan economies and has the greatest percentage of college graduates of any major metropolitan area in the United States.


Scratch the veneer of the new West look of urban Denver and you’ll get a glimpse of the Old West, too. Sitting at 5,280 feet above sea level and framed by the Rocky Mountains, the Mile High City is a study in contrasts. Cowboy-hat-wearing ambassadors greet travelers at the city’s state-of-the-art airport. The golden dome of the state capitol overlooks downtown, where renovated historic buildings and architecturally striking modern structures stand side by side. Classic steak houses sit comfortably next to innovative eateries, with bold, young chefs creating culinary masterpieces. Denver is one of only two cities in America with eight professional sports teams. Upscale hotels, a booming arts and culture roster, family attractions, professional sports, the region's premier shopping areas, 850 miles of paved off-road biking trails and quick access to some of Colorado's major ski resorts and national parks keep visitors coming back again and again.


Procedure for Candidacy

Nominations, expressions of interest should be submitted electronically to:

Aaron Ortiz, Manager of Provider Recruitment

Denver Health Medical Center




Posted: 2022-11-23 Expires: 2023-01-22

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Chief of Gastroenterology - Denver Health

Denver Health
Denver, Colorado 80204

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