The model clicked with Dr. Michael Welch at a primary care conference. An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) primary care fellowship program could work in Colorado Springs. Welch proposed the idea at Peak Vista Community Health Centers and spearheaded its development in 2015, though he deflects credit to “a lot of help from other people.” The result is one of few programs in the country that allow new nurse practitioners one year of continued clinical and instructional experience. For Welch, the program is a win for the fellows, for Peak Vista’s patients, and for Colorado Springs by providing more and better qualified family medicine professionals.
“I believe providing healthcare to people facing healthcare access barriers is important,” Welch says. “I think we help keep overall healthcare costs down by being able to offer people access to primary care services, because if we weren’t here, there’d be a lot of people whose only access to healthcare would probably be the ER.”
Peak Vista President and CEO Pam McManus describes Welch as an innovative, forward-thinking leader.
“In my opinion, what makes a healthcare hero are those healthcare providers and nurses and other members who go to work every day and suffer long hours—and sometimes difficult people in difficult situations—looking to make a difference for their patients,” Welch says. “I’m very proud of our team.”
Read about more Healthcare Heroes here.