Champion for the Underserved: Doctors Care’s Dr. VanderArk

The Harold E. Williamson Award is presented each year to honor a Colorado physician for volunteer medical services and contributions to the community. Presented through COPIC, a leading provider of medical professional liability insurance, the award recognizes those individuals who unassumingly volunteer outside the spectrum of their day-to-day lives. This year, Doctors Care’s own founder and president, Dr. Gary VanderArk, was honored to receive this prestigious award.

Dr. VanderArk has worked tirelessly on behalf of Colorado’s medically under-served for over 30 years and has helped open the door for low-income uninsured adults and children to receive affordable health care. He keeps the issue of the uninsured and under-served at the forefront of attention with local hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and physicians, and works diligently to offer solutions like lower cost alternatives to emergency room visits.

Rather than being a burden to one charitable hospital or a few physicians, his vision for the uninsured includes all health care providers sharing in this responsibility equitably. In his mind, if all players pitch in together to do their part, the care of the uninsured will be shared. When everyone does a little, no one has to do too much.

His methods are straightforward; there is no beating around the bush when it comes to the importance of health. As founder of Doctors Care in 1987, Dr. VanderArk signed up all 129 physicians of the Arapahoe Medical Society for this unique approach to sharing the distribution of the uninsured. The medical society members were told if they chose not be involved, they would need to speak to Dr. VanderArk personally about their decision. Consequently, all 129 medical society members “opted in.” Today, with his efforts and supervision, the network of volunteer providers at Doctors Care has grown to nearly 1000 providers.

In addition to being a champion for the health of the under-served in Colorado, Dr. VanderArk builds community by inspiring, challenging, and encouraging others to participate in this cause. He brings competing hospitals and providers together in his collaborative community approach to care for the uninsured. With a vision of health care for all, Dr. VanderArk works hard to make it a reality.

His vision and perseverance have unquestionably improved the lives of many individuals who will never know him. By creating access to health care to those in need, he provides overall renewed hope in their lives.

Congratulations, Dr. VanderArk, on this well-deserved recognition for all you do for Colorado’s medically under-served!

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