Government and Community Relations

The Government and Community Relations Department advocates at the local, state and federal government levels on behalf of Denver Health. Their purpose is to help maintain and promote community-wide outreach programs. By identifying issues when they arrive, the department can respond quickly, accurately and appropriately. The overarching goal is to provide a consistent message about Denver Health through internal and external channels.


2021 Hospital Community Benefit  Accountability Annual Report

DHHA Community Health Needs Assessment

Meet Our Team

Jacqueline ZheleznyakJackie Zheleznyak
Director of Government Relations

Jackie came to Denver in 1999 from her home in Honolulu, Hawaii to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Denver in International Studies. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 2003. Finding a love of international affairs, she continued her educational career at DU completing her Masters in International Security in 2005 from the Korbel School of International Studies.

Jackie Zheleznyak comes to Denver Health from the State of Colorado where she was worked for the past 7 years. Most recently Jackie worked with the Department of Public Health and Environment from 2008-2012 within the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response as the State Pandemic Preparedness Coordinator. In that role she worked with creating, editing and revising the State Pandemic Influenza plans and Strategic National Stockpile Distribution plans, and well as working with numerous Colorado Counties to provide guidance and technical assistance to ensure their needs were met. Before that she worked as the Homeland Security consultant at the Colorado Department of Education. In that role she worked with all 178 school districts on improving the Crisis and Emergency response plans.

Stephanie Syner Project Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Denver HealthStephanie Syner, MSW
Project Manager, Diversity and Inclusion

Stephanie Syner has worked in the government sector for over 15 years. Most recently serving as the Senior Outreach Director for Congresswoman Diana DeGette for 6 years. In this role, Stephanie worked with constituents, organizations, and community leaders from every sector to build more connected, informed, and stronger communities.

Outside of the public sector, her professional career has included consulting and campaigning in diverse communities that are most vulnerable to political or legislative change. Other areas of expertise include legislative relations, public policy, and policy analysis.

In 2017 she completed the Latino Leadership Institute Fellowship at the University of Denver. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. Stephanie proudly sits on the board of Playworks Denver Chapter.


Lisa Ward, M.S., EMT
Government Affairs Specialist

Lisa ward govt relations

Lisa joins the government relations team from the Denver Health emergency department, where she has worked for the past 10 years, as an Emergency Medical Technician.  Her collaborative experience within Colorado government and the health care system consists of a diverse skill set including; emergency clinical care, communicable disease investigation, regulatory leadership, innovative program development, legislative policy, and professional consulting.  Lisa has coordinated and served on multiple state-wide and local healthcare advisory committees and operationalized a rural health care initiative that resulted in a nation-wide model for integrative community healthcare. 

In 2019, Lisa served as the legislative aide to Colorado Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Rhonda Fields.  Lisa provided policy and administrative support on a total of 38 legislative bills for which Senator Fields was a Prime or Co-Prime sponsor.  Lisa’s work within the legislature encouraged her to pursue both professional and educational advancement to continue her career at Denver Health.

Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Metropolitan State University in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Policy from the University of Denver.  She continues to work in the Denver Health emergency department alongside her government relations role.


Hospital Transformation Program

What is the Hospital Transformation Program (HTP)? 

  • The goal of the HTP is to improve the quality of hospital care provided to Health First Colorado (Colorado Medicaid) members by tying provider fee-funded hospital payments to quality-based initiatives.  
  • To be successful, hospitals must demonstrate meaningful community engagement and improvements in health outcomes over the five year program timeline.
  • The program seeks to: improve patient outcomes through care redesign and integration of care across settings, lower avoidable health care utilization, accelerate hospitals’ organizational, operational, improve systems readiness for value-based payment, and increase collaboration between hospitals and other providers. 

Learn More About HTP

Community Benefit Transparency Report  

Hospital Transformation Program Application and Intervention Proposal for Community Review

community relations