Career Summary

Dr. Patricia Gabow’s career has been a journey from an academic physician to a healthcare leader. She began her career as an academic physician and researcher in the area of renal disease. She was the Principal Investigator on the largest clinical NIH Program Project Grant in Polycystic Kidney Disease for 15 years which produced seminal observations on the disease. Her leadership career began as Director of the Medical Services (Chair), then as Medical Director (Chief Medical Officer), and culminated as the CEO for 20 years of Denver Health, a large integrated public system.

At Denver Health she led a system transformation changing a struggling public hospital system into a model integrated, high quality, fiscally stable system. Dr. Gabow led the transition of the entire Denver Health system from a department of city government to an independent governmental entity. She oversaw the investment of over $300 million in the physical plants of the hospital and the community health centers and in over $400 million in information technology. She led innovations in the delivery of care from the introduction of Toyota Production System/Lean throughout the system to creating new models of outpatient care as principal investigator for a $20 million CMMI Innovation grant.

She has received numerous awards for this work including the American Medical Association Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Servant, the National Healthcare Leadership Award, the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Health Quality Leader Award from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Gabow is a national leader in health care and health care policy. This is reflected in her appointments to the Commonwealth Commission on a High Performing Health System, the federal Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board, and the Lown Institute Board.

She is the author of over 170 publications, including two recent books, The Lean Prescription: Powerful Medicine for Our Ailing Healthsystem (2015) which won the Shingo Institute Research and Professional Publication Award and TIME’S NOW for Women in Healthcare Leadership: A Guide for the Journey (2020).

Reach Out and Read at Denver Health

Selected Recent Awards (2009-2019)


Master, American College of Physicians

Honorary Degree, Doctor of Science, University of Colorado

Women Who Have Changed the Heart of the City, Denver Rescue Mission

Lifetime Achievement Award, Denver Business Journal Champions in Health Care


Lifetime Achievement Award, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation

Honorary Degree, University of Denver

Innovators in Health Award, New England Healthcare Institute

David E. Rogers Award, Association of American Medical Colleges


Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award, American Red Cross-Denver Chapter

Denver’s Healthcare Leader of the Year, Denver Business Journal


Health Quality Leader, National Committee for Quality Assurance

Excellence in Public Health Practice by an Individual, Colorado School of

Public Health

Induction to Association of Manufacturing Hall of Fame


Rockefeller Foundation Academic Writing Residency, Bellagio, Italy


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Distinguished Graduate



Shingo Institute Research and Professional Publication Award


Gustav O. Lienhard Award, National Academy of Medicine

Florence Rena Sabin Award
     University of Colorado