Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger honored with Rural Health Excellence award
The Colorado Rural Health Center has awarded Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger a Rural Health Excellence 2021 award. Dr. Lisa, as she is known locally, is a patient advocate, a passionate and dedicated healer, a lifelong learner, mentor to other healthcare professionals and a public servant.
“Having dedicated her life and entire career after medical school to caring for the residents of Lake County, Dr. Lisa truly exemplifies excellence in rural health. She has molded the healthcare landscape of Lake County for generations to come,” said CEO Brett Antczak. “In addition to a long list of other achievements over the past 20 years, most recently Dr. Lisa has demonstrated a huge sense of responsibility and a fighting spirit during this pandemic.”
Aside from seeing patients seven days a week in the clinic and hospital, she extended her influence by seeing at-risk patients by telehealth, in their cars and even at home. In the past year Dr. Lisa also managed to work in all of the community meetings surrounding COVID, presenting data and facts to the community.
Her efforts can be seen in the higher-than-average vaccination rate for Lake County. Her messaging is always clear, science-based and consistent with the messages from the CDC and local public health, encouraging precautions to slow the spread of the virus and to get vaccinated.
Teaching is a passion for Dr. Lisa. She has influenced the education of more than 150 students over the years, as an academic and clinical faculty member and full professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her office regularly accommodates students who are aspiring to be physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses or medical assistants.
Recognizing the need for unified primary care in Lake County and the desire to give back to the community, Dr. Lisa graciously donated her thriving private primary care practice to St. Vincent Health. The merger of Rocky Mountain Family Practice and St. Vincent Medical Clinic brought together the strengths of both teams. Her selflessness and commitment to care for Lake County, in perpetuity, has created a unified primary care group known as St. Vincent Family Health Center.
She has been a driver in St. Vincent Health’s efforts to offer coordinated care and increased access to all healthcare services in Lake County, and instrumental in recruiting highly trained specialists and surgeons to provide care locally.
And finally, as a public servant and organizational leader, Dr. Lisa serves as medical director for Lake County Public Health Agency and is St. Vincent Health’s chief medical officer.