The 50th anniversary of Denver Health and Hospital Authority’s (DHHA) community health centers coincided with the grand opening of its new Federico Peña Southwest Family Health Center and Urgent Care this spring.

Several years ago, a community needs assessment revealed that an area of South Denver suffered from a severe lack of healthcare resources and had one of the largest populations of undocumented citizens in Denver. In response, Denver Health decided to launch the design and planning of a new family health center in 2014 that would be its largest community health center and the only one to house an urgent care.

RTA Architects (Colorado Springs, Colo.), the architect of record on the project, began the design process by shadowing DHHA staff at its Westside Clinic to understand the clinic’s processes and user needs. The design team also toured three other existing clinics, including Montbello, Park Hill, and Lowry, and held a week-long Lean 3P (Production, Preparation, Process) event with RTA and a multidisciplinary Denver Health team to rapidly create and test potential designs.

With a focus on holistic care, patient education, and preventing further illness, the certified patient-centered medical home opened in April 2016 and offers primary care, women’s health, Women Infant and Children Food and Nutrition (WIC), pediatrics, integrative behavioral health, pharmacy, dental, laboratory, radiology, and insurance enrollment services. Clinical pharmacists are also available to teach patients about medications.

The building features a large interactive children’s play zone, expansive atriums, and lobbies for large community gatherings. There’s also a multipurpose community conference room, which can be used for activities such as community cooking classes.

Universal signage and intuitive wayfinding allows multilingual patients to easily navigate their way through the facility. High-quality finishes and design touches, such as warm wood, slate tiles, skylights, and vaulted ceilings, deliver an aesthetically pleasing environment at the center.