Advancing Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Health Care Systems: Early Lessons from Denver Health

February 2023

A trauma-informed approach to care acknowledges that health care organizations and care teams need a complete picture of a patient’s life situation — past and present — to provide effective services with a healing orientation. Adopting trauma-informed practices can potentially improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes, as well as provider and staff wellness.

This webinar, cosponsored by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and the Better Care Playbook, highlighted how Denver Health, a large health system in Colorado, is implementing a trauma- and resilience-informed approach into organizational policy and practice, while also focusing on addressing systemic racism and biases. Panelists discussed their efforts, including building staff capacity, promoting organizational culture change, and gaining leadership buy in for a system-wide trauma-informed approach to care. Denver Health is a participant in Advancing Integrated Models, a national learning collaborative led by CHCS and made possible through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


I. Welcome and Introductions

Speaker: Zackiya Grant-Knight, Program Officer, CHCS

Z. Grant-Knight welcomed attendees and provided an overview of the webinar. She then introduced the Better Care Playbook and resources on trauma-informed care.

II. Overview of Denver Health and its Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Initiative

Speaker: Maria Gonsalves Schimpf, Director, Denver Health RESTORE (Resilience and Equity through Support and Training for Organizational Renewal)

M. Gonsalves Schimpf provided an overview of Denver Health and key features of the Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Systems initiative at the health system.

III. Panel: Early Lessons on the Design and Implementation of Trauma-Informed Systems Change

Speakers: Maria Gonsalves Schimpf, Director, Denver Health RESTORE; Kris Gaw, Chief Operating Officer, Denver Health; Ken Epstein, Consultant, P.R.E.P. for Change Consulting

Moderator: Meryl Schulman, Senior Program Officer, CHCS

The panel explored:

  • The impetus for adopting a trauma-informed approach at Denver Health;
  • How and why leadership were engaged in the process;
  • How Denver Health and other health systems can apply trauma-informed principles in their daily work and shift culture to align with those principles;
  • How to coordinate efforts across large institutions; and
  • What’s next for Denver Health’s work in advancing a system-wide trauma-informed approach to care.

IV. Wrap Up

M. Schulman concluded the webinar and provided next steps.

Posted to The Playbook on