Patient / Provider Relationships

This page features stories of the relationships between patients and their providers or caregivers, and how those relationships influence health successes, end of life decisions, and other life changing moments. Listen to these stories, visit our Featured Stories page, or search for stories by topic or by location.


Theresa – Alamosa, CO

Theresa - Alamosa, COTheresa, of Alamosa, shares a deeply personal story about losing her daughter. In her story, she recalls the importance of small moments between her family and the hospital nurses that had a long lasting impact.

“The reason I got into the health care field is that through losing her .. I watched what the nurses did and [thought] that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be there when people were going through the hard times.”


Jess – Denver, CO


Growing up going to a sleep-away camp, camp nurses played an important role in Jess’s life. She talks about how their immersion in campers’ and staff members’ everyday activities helped teach kids that health care professionals are “real people” too.

“There’s a lot of talk now about medical homes and integrated care… all of these buzz words. I think the camp nurse is the prime example of when this works best, because they’re living with you!”


Michele – Weld County. CO

MIchele - Weld County, COMichele is a nurse from Weld County.  She shares a story about the relationship between nurses and the families of their patients.

“I thought, how unique, both nurse and family member used the same exact words, but they were coming from a 180 degrees difference in how they felt this patient should be treated.”


Jennifer – Westminster, CO

Jennifer - Westminster, CO

Jennifer, of Westminster, shares her health story. After a car accident, Jennifer struggled with migraines, back pain, depression and anxiety. She describes the difficulties not being able to care for  her family and the impact integrated care had on her recovery.

“It was very very depressing for me to go from being very active to being … just … bedridden. It was debilitating.”


Pat – Basalt, CO

Pat - Basalt, CO

Pat, of Basalt, shares his health story. After a tragic spinal cord injury he became depressed and turned to alcohol. Under the careful eye of his primary care physician, Pat connected with a trainer, nutritionist, and behavioral health coach. The integrated approach helped Pat reach goals and set new sights for his future.

“I’ve gone from a single bike path where I would fall off every three steps, to now I feel like I’m navigating a six lane highway and the group is my bumper guards.”


Katie – Lamar, CO

Katie - Lamar, COKatie, of Lamar, shares her health story. After her husband’s passing, she struggled with grief, depression, and substance abuse. Fortunately, Katie now has an excellent relationship with her therapist and is doing much better.

“I got connected with my therapist, my substance abuse therapist, through my domestic violence therapist and my doctor… We’ve talked over some stuff I’ve never told anybody.”


Sarah – Colorado Springs, CO

Sarah - Colorado Springs, COSarah, a behavioral health provider in Colorado Springs, describes integrated care in her geriatric clinic. At their clinic, they have worked to tweak the “co-visit” to help both patients and their families.

“Her family [wasn’t] understanding how she was experiencing the world. And the provider and I were able to say medication isn’t going to do anything. And that united front really helped that family to understand.”

Carolyn and William

Carolyn & William – Chaffee County

Carolyn_William_SqaureCarolyn, a resident of Chaffee County, was in need of finding a provider that could help rehabilitate her body.   She is referred to William, a massage therapist in Chaffee County, and not only does she begin to regain physical mobility but she experiences personal growth.

William: “One day Carolyn said to me, ‘William, why do you work so hard on me?’…and I said, ‘Carolyn, I believe in you!’ And she came back with the zinger…
Carolyn: “My response was, ‘Well, you’re making me start to believe in myself.”


Sandie – Ft. Collins, CO

Sandie - Fort Collins, CO

Sandie, of Fort Collins, shares her personal transformation story. After years of yo-yo dieting and unhealthy habits, Sandie was able to lose more than 50 lbs and get off both her cholesterol and blood pressure medication. With her employer’s support, a weight counselor, friends and family, and a trainer, Sandie is supported on her journey to wellness.

“It took me several years to decide that I wanted to really do something about my weight… I found the quick fix wasn’t ideal for me.”


Clint – Fort Collins, CO

Clint - Fort Collins, CO

Clint, a City of Fort Collins employee, shares his journey to a healthier lifestyle after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and cholesterol in his twenties.

“Because, with me, you couldn’t have forced me to do it until I was ready…and for me it was really being scared.  It was like, I can’t believe in my 20s, I’m on blood pressure medication, and they’re saying stroke and heart attack in my 30s.  It scared me.”


Karen – Fort Collins, CO

Karen - Fort Collins, CO

Karen, a public health nurse in Larimer County, does home visits for new moms and babies on Medicaid.  She recalls the story of how she helped a family recover after the loss of their baby.

“I struggled with why this outcome was the way it was, if I felt like I got there in time, but I think I saved this family a lot of grief with child protection.  If this baby would have died at home, I think they would not have been able to forgive themselves; that there was something they had done.”


Michelle – Colorado Springs, CO

Michelle - Colorado Springs, CO

Michelle is a Physician Assistant at a clinic in Colorado Springs who discusses her commitment to “whole person” care. She shares a particular story about treating a woman from this holistic perspective, the impact it had on her patient’s life.

“It was nice to see that a lot of different aspects could come together and really make a person feel whole in themselves.”


John – Durango, CO

John - Durango, CO

John, a medical student in Denver, CO who did his rural rotation in Durango, shares his story about how developed a passion for medicine. He talks about his time volunteering in the Chiapas region in Mexico, and the similar struggles of chronic disease and poor access to care amongst citizens in the United States.

“There’s a big discussion about safety net clinics and safety net health care systems and the people who are making decisions are so detached from the reality on the ground, in terms of health care, that they’re more likely to do away with them.”


Kiri – Fort Collins, CO

Kiri tells her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer and her choice to use alternative treatment options. She illustrates the importance of being an engaged patient.

“In 2010, I felt a lump in my breast, the same story many women have. Then you get swept into a process that very quickly did not feel like my path, and I just had to pull back the reigns and say, ‘hey, wait a minute, I’m going to do this the way I feel right about doing this.’”


Michael – El Paso County

Michael, a resident of El Paso county, speaks about seeking and receiving treatment for his escalating poor mental health condition.

“The majority of the time you don’t want to ask for help, you don’t want them to know what’s going on.  You’re scared to ask for help.  But that’s the first step; you have to ask for help.”


Nigel – Colorado Springs, CO

Nigel speaks about a clinic in El Paso county that went beyond normal expectations to provide considerate and quality care for his brother, a large man who struggled with receiving care due to fear of judgment and unaccommodating providers.

“The respect and compassion that the clinic showed a huge man, I mean he was a mountain of a man.  He barely fit through doors; you know he barely fit in cars.  But the clinic accommodated all of that.  I will never forget what they did.”

Dr. Larry

Larry – Fort Collins, CO

Dr. Larry Kieft, an OB/GYN in Fort Collins, shares a story about learning how to handle adverse birth outcomes. He explains how forming a strong doctor-patient relationship can be done even in tragic circumstances, and these relationships can help both the doctor and the patient heal and move forward together.

“… out of that experience came a relationship, doctor-patient, that was very unique. A friendship that was very unique, and that’s not always based on excellent outcomes.”


John – Colorado Springs, CO

John, a resident of Colorado Springs for nearly a decade, shares his experience overcoming a traumatic personal experience and mental health issues with the support of a counselor at a local clinic.

“Overnight it was all different.  Every area [the clinic] has taken care of.  You know, I’ve had several dental problems and they’ve gotten me in and taken care of it.  My depression and anxiety problems, you know, they just keep solid with me, they don’t give up or whatever.”


Gretchen – Denver, CO

Gretchen, a Park Hill resident in Denver, CO shares her family’s health story. She talks about her father, his rural medicine mentality, and the seamless integration between health care and community.

“Health was always important, and it was an important part of our growing up, and an important part of how we interacted with our community.”

Don Jesus

Don Jesus – Durango, CO

Danny and Mariel, both La Plata County-based Community Health Workers, share the story of Don Jesus. Don Jesus was an elderly gentleman who was found on the ground of his trailer after three days of no water or food and in very bad condition.

“The truth is that Jesus is not only our client, but he is our friend… He is the one who brought us together, who brought this community together.”

Karen and Benjamin

Karen and Benjamin – Denver, CO

Karen shares her story about her son Benjamin, who is hearing and visually impaired. She describes their experience with numerous providers, trying to diagnose Benjamin’s issues. Throughout all of it, Karen and her family have stayed extremely positive and built many meaningful relationships within the medical community.

“Some of our relationship with some of our doctors…well it’s almost like a marriage. You have your moments, you just love them so much, and other moments your not sure about this.”


Sharon – Denver, CO

Sharon shares her story about her family pediatrician and subsequent health care providers. She talks about looking for the same positive qualities in her current physician that kept her family with their pediatrician for over 18 years. It is Sharon’s hope that in the future all children and adults will be as happy with their provider, and that everyone will have a stable medical home.

“I’m hoping that at some point this country will get to that, where we can get the care we need when we need it.”

Christina and Jaden

Christina and Jaden – Durango, CO

Christina explains her family’s decision to move from their home in Durango to Denver for her son Jaden’s specialty care. Despite having formed a close relationship with their primary care provider in Durango, the financial strain of living so far away from a neurosurgeon has forced Christina and her family to make this tough choice.

“Its been a very hard decision to move to Denver, because this is home…I’m losing that large chunk of go-to care for specialty care.”

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark Earnest – Denver, CO

Dr. Mark Earnest is a Professor in the Division of General Medicine for the University of Colorado and the Co-Founder and Director of the LEADS Program. He is also a Denver resident, and tells the story of a patient who sought treatment for kidney disease and her struggle to afford the necessary care. He wants to share her story to show how the medical system could be different, in a way that overcomes people’s fear about change.

“Isn’t it enough that somebody has lost their kidneys and now has to be on dialysis? Do we have to completely ruin them before we provide care?”

Dr. Carl

Dr. Carl Clark – Denver, CO

Dr. Carl Clark, a mental health provider in Denver, describes his father’s struggle with bi-polar disorder.  He tells his father’s story of diagnosis and recovery and its impact on his personal career choice.

“I didn’t know my dad had a mental illness.  I thought all dads were full of abundant energy and this hopping in the car and taking spontaneous vacations.  I thought that’s just what dads did.”