DaVita® Stories

Hometown Helpers: DaVita Teammate Volunteers for the Future of Health Care

Editor’s note:The hard work done by teammates at DaVita is clear, but it’s easy to forget that so many are also spending their time outside of work for the greater good. In our “Hometown Helpers” series, we will highlight teammates who are making a difference in their communities. Today, we highlight teammate Gabriel Schlough from Denver, Colorado. 

Q: When did you come to Denver, and how did volunteering help you get to know the city?

A: I moved to Denver in July of 2016, after being based in Sierra Leone to support the Ebola outbreak for 3 years across the broader effected West African region; volunteering enables me to strengthen my connection with social issues impacting health-that fill my cup-while rapidly expanding my awareness of local networks filled with compassionate people.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: I volunteer to actively participate in transforming the lived-experience of caring for people suffering in our communities around the world-by starting with the people closest to me.

Q:How did you first get involved with the organization(s) you volunteer for in Denver?

A: In Feb. of 2017, during an on-boarding session led by Rebecca Griggs with Pioneer, our new teammate cohort learned about a special dynamic volunteering opportunity through DaVita at Denver Health. Because of my passion for health care delivery and expansive history of supporting safety net hospitals, I jumped at the opportunity to help. Broadly now, I focus all my volunteering with Denver Health.

Q:What is your role within that organization(s)?

A: With the dynamic volunteering project, my role matched that of a business analyst. Our team was composed of bright and talented teammates from across Atlas and our objective was to conduct a consultancy engagement for a physician led Healthcare Interest Program (HIP) started by Dr. Lilia Cervantes at Denver Health. HIP is a grassroots Denver Health mentorship program that works to increase the success of underprivileged, underrepresented college students who are interested in careers in healthcare. The team was led by two magnetic village leaders, Scott Doniger and Anne Howard. Our project team partnered with HIP to complete a needs assessment and scope a scalable growth plan for future programming. I was so impressed by the impact HIP was making to a niche challenge, universal across the majority of our healthcare systems that after our engagement officially ended, I continued to personally volunteer as a strategic advisor and guest lecturer for the program. Currently, on Friday evenings, I also volunteer with a program started by Dr. Josina O’Connell, that grew from a HIP community service program into a non-profit start-up, called the Student Healthcare Investment Partners (SHIPs). At SHIPs I mentor students who are joining the health care workforce or taking a gap year before med/dental/nursing/pharmacy schools on how to structure social movements to impact population health.

Q: Has your role at DaVita impacted your volunteering efforts in any way? And vice versa?

A: Yes, and DaVita has greatly increased the value of my volunteering efforts by expanding the scope and scale at which I’ve learned to solve complex patient centered problems effectively-yet fast. Yes, and volunteering with Denver Health continually challenges me to locally engage ambiguous social problems impacting the health of marginalized populations which often broadly mirror those experienced by our patients.

Q: What advice would you give to other teammates looking to get involved in community volunteer opportunities

A: Do it for the kids.  Richard Feynman often said, “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irrelevant and original manner possible.” And as you struggle to do that, I recommend volunteering with a group in your community to apply what you’re learning while you, do it for the kids.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: Do it for the kids.

Gabriel Schlough

Gabriel Schlough

Gabriel lives in Denver, Colorado and is a Change Management Practitioner on Team Runway with a decade of strategy and operations experience in health care. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Neuroscience, Anthropology & Public Health from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His passion is transforming anthropology, business, and health.