Denver Health strives to improve wellbeing of community with more than health services

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DENVER (KDVR) — During this pandemic, Denver Health has continued its work in the community as an Anchor Institution.

The goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of community members, not just with medical services, but with job opportunities.

Sergio Palma is benefitting from that mission. He is a stock clerk at Denver Health who works at the loading dock.

“It’s been a blessing. It has been a blessing to be able to have a job during these tough times,” Palma said.

Not long ago, he says, his life had less direction. “I was in between jobs, mostly just doing odd jobs,” he said.

But he found help with Activate, a workforce development group that helps people with varied backgrounds or life challenges get jobs and find a career.

Palma is one of many Activate candidates hired by Denver Health as part of their mission to support the wellbeing of the community with more than just clinical services.

“A lot of total wellness is about having a good job with good benefits, a living wage and an opportunity to move up,” said Alaina Johnson, the Director of Talent Acquisition at Denver Health. 

She says the hospital also works with groups like Powered by Emily Griffith Cafe.

The average annual income for Activate candidates hired at Denver Health has increased from about $8,000 a year to about $36,000 a year.

“We invest in them and they invest in us, and it’s a great win-win situation,” Johnson said.

Palma’s manager, Kurt Outcalt, agrees. “It is rewarding to see them grow, and move up through the department,” he said.

They all agree Denver Health is improving overall wellness with this mission.

“I have options here. Whereas before I didn’t know where I was going to go with anything, and now it feels like there’s a path I can take. There’s multiple paths I could take,” Palma said.

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