University College is pleased to welcome Jeff Weide (DBA) as the new academic director for the Health Informatics program. Jeff most recently comes to University of Denver from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), where he was helping in the state’s COVID-19 management efforts. We asked Jeff about his background, the field, the Health Informatics program, and advice he has for students.
Experience in Action
Jeff is a healthcare leader, project manager, educator, and leadership coach that empowers organizations to enhance operations through improvement methodologies, systems thinking, and strategic planning. He has worn many hats throughout his career, including over a decade of experience in the health space in a variety of positions.
An Air Force veteran, Jeff spend six of his 12 years in the military working in aircraft and deployment management, and the remaining six years in management analysis. For three of those years, he worked in the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, beginning his professional work in healthcare.
Hailing from a family of doctors and nurses, Jeff was no stranger to the health space. In fact, he taught war-time triage and first aid to non-medics for five years in the Air Force, but it was data that really held his attention.
“I had family that were always in health, but I liked problem solving and I liked data. Once I got to do that work in the medical field, it drew me in,” he says.
Since then, his work has seen him working with healthcare systems and professionals using data analysis and simulations to improve processes, goal setting, and efficiencies.
He served as Director of Performance Improvement to include quality and compliance over a 21-clinic health system in the Denver metro area. In addition, he worked with Denver Health as an improvement coach and facilitator, working with healthcare executives to use data to develop strategy plans, create operational plans, and implement process improvement.
Managing a Pandemic
Most recently, Jeff used his skills at the CDPHE to assist with COVID-19 management.
CDPHE has multiple arms that deal with COVID-19, including the rapid-response model, which is where Jeff’s work came into play.
In the early days of the pandemic, National Guard members were helping at testing sites. As they began to ramp down operations, Jeff’s role oversees the logistics and staffing of the rapid response program.
In the past month, this grew into assisting the vaccine roll-out for the state. His team worked with CDPHE and counties to ensure the accurate collection of patient data for these stood up vaccine clinics.
“We managed thousands of man hours at sites throughout the entire state of Colorado and maneuvered a hundred-plus testers across the state,” Jeff said, adding he continues to help with some administrative duties for CDPHE.
Teaching Innovation in Healthcare
Jeff hasn’t just worked in healthcare, project management, business, and computer programs. He’s also taught all of those topics and then some, with a focus on experiential learning. Since 2008, he has been an instructor in the Colorado Community College system, in addition to developing the project management courses at CSU Global.
He also has been an instructor in University College’s Healthcare Management program since early 2020, teaching courses like Healthcare Finance and Healthcare Project Management, as well as developing a Workflow and Gap Analysis course and more.
“I like prepping students for real-life scenarios. I want them to be able to learn things in a more interactive way,” Jeff said. “That’s one thing that drew me to University College. We are all adult learners, but the focus isn’t about just teaching material, it’s about doing things that are applicable to what students are currently working in or their aspirations in their professional lives.”
So having faculty and programs that that focus on how you go from the concept to the application piece is key.
Informatics in an Evolving Industry
As academic director of the recently formed Health Informatics program, Jeff sees many opportunities to continue to strengthen the concentrations and ensure education meets industry needs.
COVID-19 has changed the face of healthcare, and those in the informatics field are now looking at more opportunities in telehealth, as well as wearable devices, than ever before. And those technologies are constantly evolving, not to mention the social determinants and equity challenges that COVID-19 brought to the forefront of the healthcare industry.
According to Jeff, the healthcare programs at University College are continually assessing the emerging trends that need to be addressed through education.
“I try to look at ways to innovate. Healthcare tends to get stuck in tradition rather than thinking outside of the box, but we are always thinking about the next three steps.” Jeff said. “Having faculty and programs that focus on how you go from the concept to the application piece is key,” Jeff said.
Getting to Know Jeff Weide:
- A Colorado native, Jeff has been married to his wife for 20 years this coming May and has four children.
- The Weide family also participates in foster care work, welcoming several children into their home.
- Served on the board of Florence Crittenton, a Denver nonprofit that empowers teen mothers and their children to be productive members of the community, from 2018-2020.
- Serves on the Academic Committee for the Colorado Chapter of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). University of Denver is one of only four schools in the Health Executive Network (HEN) Program for ACHE in Colorado.
- Recommended reading: The Creative Mindset: Mastering the Six Skills That Empower Innovation by Jeff and Staney DeGraff.