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Joe Drew Honored as Recipient of Vail Health Elevate Award

Sally Welsh

Behavioral health employee nominated for exceptional care

Joe Drew, a nurse practitioner at Vail Health Behavioral Health, has been named the seventh recipient of the Vail Health Elevate Award. Vail Health created the Elevate Award in June 2022 to give patients and their families an opportunity to nominate and thank employees who have touched their lives in some way.

Originally from Colorado, Drew has lived in the Eagle River Valley since 2009. Drew enjoys working with patients to help manage chronic pain medication, dealing with pain after a surgery, working with people who are managing their addictions, and with medical detox administration. Drew enjoys all aspects of living in Eagle County, especially being with his family snowboarding, rafting, mountain biking, dirt biking, camping; he also enjoys woodworking.

Drew was nominated by Coti Chase. Originally from the East Coast, Coti has lived in the valley since 2010 and enjoys summers in Colorado and hiking by the river.

“Joe Drew has made a major difference just by listening and going from there,” said Coti. “Most doctors I’ve been to say, ‘no, we can’t do this’ or ‘let’s try this’ even though I’ve told them that doesn’t work for me at all. They still push it on you. Instead of doing that, Joe has been open to trying new things on what works for me. Personalized care. Most doctors have a pre-set medication of what will or won’t work for you before you walk in the door.” 

Drew is also very passionate about taking care of the underserved population and works at the Eagle County jail as a nurse practitioner. 

“Joe is very non judgmental. Very open minded on what could work. He is willing to go the extra mile and try something out that might work for you. He dedicates all his time to his patients,” said Coti. “He cares about the community and it shows.”

Addiction psychiatry is its own specialty, and Drew is the sole behavioral health provider in the county offering this service. 

“He was and is much needed in our community for many reasons. Behavioral health, mental health, addictions, and traumas,” said Coti. “Joe makes things accessible. He is here to help, and it shows in the way you’re treated as a human being with compassion and care. Not just another patient.”

Drew takes pride in providing compassionate and non-judgemental care, and that approach is reflected in the experience for his patients. 

“It’s just really nice to be treated as a human and not pre judged as an addict before you walk in the door,” said Coti. “There’s a major stigma around addicts and addiction. Not with Joe. So, thank you Joe for simply being you and treating humans as human beings. It’s quite rare in the medical field and very refreshing. Thank you for personalized non-stigmatized care.” 

The Elevate Award directly aligns with Vail Health’s mission of elevating health across our mountain communities. Past Elevate Award winners include: Erin Perejda, the supportive care services manager and licensed clinical social worker at Vail Health Shaw Cancer Center, June 2022; Susan Vickerman, MD, a family medicine physician at Colorado Mountain Medical, August 2022; Meghan Gallegos, Howard Head Sports Physical Therapist, December 2022; Allie Morgan, Patient Care Unit Registered Nurse, April 2023; Christi Sewell, RN, OCN in the Patient Care Unit, June 2023; and Jacey Hagen, a labor and delivery nurse in the Family Birth Center, September 2023.  

Patients and family members are encouraged to nominate staff who made a meaningful difference in their health care experience. Nominees can work in any area of the Vail Health healthcare system—including admissions, laboratory, surgery centers, Howard Head Sports Medicine, Shaw Cancer Center, Colorado Mountain Medical, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and more.

To nominate Vail Health, Colorado Mountain Medical, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Howard Head Sports Medicine and Shaw Cancer Center staff, visit