By Darrell Arnold
HUERFANO- Though local veterinarian John Davis is primarily known for his 29 years of caring for animals, he has also been involved in other projects. John was one of the prime movers and shakers back in the mid-1980s when it became apparent that Huerfano County was in dire need of a new hospital.
Davis recalls, "I got on the hospital board because health care isn’t just dogs and cats or people. I’m for public health in general. As a veterinarian in this community, I was very much in tune with the health care needs of the community as a whole, and I wanted to participate. "Furthermore," adds Davis, "I was a businessman. There has to be a good health care system if our community is going to thrive.
What John and other community leaders did was to get the hospital district board, the Veterans’ Administration, and Colorado Social Services to all come together and build a cost-efficient hospital and veterans’ nursing home. "It took a lot of politicking," recalls Davis, "getting a bond issue passed and getting all the agencies give up a little territority. It was a tough one to pull off."
The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center (SPRHC) was completed in 1992, and it has been an anchor for the community ever since. John Davis is no longer on the board of directors for the facility, but he is on the board of directors of the Spanish Peaks Healthcare Foundation, which he started shortly before going off the hospital board. "Our mission," says Davis, "is to support the vision and goals of the SPRHC through fund development, community outreach, and health education in order to meet the health care needs and improve the health status of Huerfano County citizens, with special attention to those most at risk."
Assisting Davis in this endeavor is neurologist Dr. Patrick Sternberg. "Pat, says Davis, "has been instrumental in putting together a group of medical professionals, nutritionists, physical therapists, MDs in general practice, and myself.”
"We try to get into the biology classes with juniors and seniors and make them aware of the opportunities that exist in medicine and how broad a field it is. When you say medicine, most folks think of only two things — doctor or nurse. They don’t think about the other aspects (nutrition, PT, clinical lab work, imaging, anesthetics, CNAs, administration, etc.) We’re trying to make our young people more aware of the opportunities available to them in private medicine and in government."
The Foundation has a scholarship program, a guaranteed loan program, and a grant program for people already in the local health care facility so they can further their educations.
John Davis says, "I think the aspects of health care are very integrated, whether you’re talking about the family pet, the food, supply, the health of the individual, or the health of everything. I’m much in favor of a concept call "One Medicine." We all work together to make this planet a healthier place for the next generation."