Denver Health Southwest Family Health Center

Denver, Colorado

"It just feels great to be there, and the space feels absolutely joyful.”

Dr. Michael Russum, Medical Director, Federico F. Peña Southwest Family Health Center, Denver Health & Hospital Authority


Connecting through experience of place.

An integral part of the Denver Health healthcare delivery system is the network of Community Health Centers throughout the city, and Denver Health saw a need to expand their services to the southwest part of the metro area. These centers function as primary care clinics that provide services for patients of all ages. They are foundational to achieving high-quality, accessible, and efficient healthcare.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

The first step in RTA’s design process was what is called an immersion phase. This involves spending several days at the existing clinic in order to observe staff and patient movement, and have one-on-one discussions about level of care and services. The next step was a multi-day 3P (Production, Preparation, and Process) Lean Design event that included all stakeholders in the project. The goal of the 3P event was to analyze the health center’s current processes and workflow. Also, the event determined how to most effectively meet the healthcare team’s needs so that they can provide the best care for patients with the least amount of waste.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

The new Federico F. Peña Southwest Family Health Center is focused on a naturally lit atrium space that houses the patient reception and waiting areas. Flowing from the atrium space are four flexible primary care clinics used for multiple functions. The remaining specialty services in the facility include dentistry, enrollment specialists, pharmacy, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Diagnostic resources include laboratory services and imaging. The center also includes an Urgent Care clinic, which will increase the Southwest Family Health Center’s ability to serve patients through providing urgent and after-hours care. RTA also assisted Denver Health with the government funding via the new market tax credit.

Project Details

  • Square footage: 45,000
  • Project cost: $16M

Design Details

  • Flexible primary care clinics used for multiple functions
  • Intuitive wayfinding
  • Local artwork
  • Funding assistance
  • Collaborative design process
  • Dentistry, insurance enrollment specialists, pharmacy, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC), laboratory services imaging, and an Urgent Care clinic
  • Photography by Vic Moss