By Ashley Andersen
Member Since: 2016
Education Goal: To play a role in preparing the future workforce and ensure that there are qualified healthcare professionals that represent our communities.
Reach: Colorado and Western Kansas
Centura Health, the region’s largest healthcare network, has a long history of supporting education efforts throughout the state, believing that both education and healthcare are integral parts of the mission and ministry of the organization. Centura, which reaches more than a half million people each year through a network of hospitals, urgent care centers, and clinics, recognizes the importance of meeting Colorado’s ever changing healthcare needs. In turn, the organization is strongly engaged in efforts to build its next generation workforce.
“Healthcare is becoming more and more complex, and the way we deliver healthcare is changing right in front of us. Add to that the growing population in Denver and the aging of the population, and we need to better understand how we can adapt to meet the needs of our community,” says Corina Lindley, Group Vice President for Community Health and Mission for Centura’s Mountain and North Denver Operating Group (MNDOG). “We are focused on being able to support the career pathways within our system for our own employees, as well as provide exposure to those outside our organization to demonstrate the opportunities available to them.”
In an effort to become a more proactive leader in education, Centura joined Colorado Succeeds in 2016. Lindley explains, “There are multiple opportunities for businesses to have a voice and an influence in a community. We want to be sure that we’re listening and understanding what’s going on in education specifically – and then be a bridge to others in the business sector. We think Colorado Succeeds is the right place to be for that.”
Developing a Talent Pipeline for Colorado
Since its inception in 1996, Centura has played a leadership role in helping to create a pipeline of qualified healthcare workers within the state. To that end, Centura has established relationships with educational institutions such as Regis University, Red Rocks Community College, and Colorado Mountain College in Summit County to develop the next generation of healthcare workers. Centura and its education partners regularly work together to proactively identify where the greatest educational needs are for healthcare in Colorado and then develop programs that map back to those needs.
One of Centura’s most successful partnerships has been the establishment of a Student Ambassador program between WarrenTech, the premier Career and Technical Education center for Jefferson County Public Schools, and Centura’s St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood. The program, which launched in 2013 under the initiative and leadership of CEO, Jeff Brickman, provides several dozen second-year health and behavioral sciences students with an interactive experience that immerses them in the world of healthcare. Over the course of the 10-week program, this group of high school seniors is exposed to a variety of hospital departments, such as surgery, trauma, nursing, and clinical engineering, based on their interests and goals. Students are each paired with a mentor and shadow medical professionals, from surgeons to flight nurses, in real-world environments. In addition to experiential learning, the program also supports students in enhancing their leadership, teamwork, English language arts, and professional communication skills, among others.
“The Student Ambassador program offers students an unfiltered view of the healthcare world and the healthcare environment. We don’t hold anything back,” said Vicki Harding, Director Volunteer Services at St. Anthony.
The result is a graduating class that is prepared for the next step in their healthcare career, whether that is a four-year college, a full-time job as a certified nursing assistant, further education at a community college, or another path altogether. Of the students who have completed the Ambassador program, approximately 80 percent are now pursuing a postsecondary education in healthcare.
“My students have learned so much through the Ambassador program that the lessons are too many to count,” says Linda Efird, Advanced Healthcare and Medical Sciences Instructor at WarrenTech.
In the future, Centura intends to continue its partnership with WarrenTech and other educational institutions as well as find new ways to immerse itself in the communities it serves. As Lindley notes, “As a mission-based organization, we recognize the links between education and health. The more education a population receives, the more opportunities there are for people to live out their own purpose and mission.”
If you are interested in creating a member profile for your company, contact Ashley Andersen, Director of Partnerships & Engagement.