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Taking on Life's Challenges

Tracy Barrios, '12

As the newly appointed director of clinical services for the HopeWest Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Tracy Barrios is committed to solving challenges the program’s participants face.

“Yes. We call them ‘participants.’ Not patients,” said Barrios.

The distinction certainly allows for a better analysis of the needs of individuals who are using end-of-life care. This program serves all of Mesa County through the HopeWest network with Barrios managing participants’ 24-hour oversight care. Weekly meetings with specialized staff teams discuss every aspect of a person’s need from diet, activity and physical therapy to occupational therapy. The PACE program is a fundamental part of keeping a family together with “all-encompassing care to keep them at home as long as possible,” said Barrios. 

Barrios came to this position from the unlikely start of studying criminal justice at CMU. After graduation, Barrios had a successful career, contracting out of Peterson AFB and traveling with Homeland Security. It wasn’t until after her marriage and the birth of her first child that she decided to pursue a career change.

“Being a mom was more important. I didn’t want to travel three weeks out of every month,” said Barrios.

She had always loved nursing and returned to CMU’s nursing program. After graduating in 2012, Barrios moved up quickly from nurse to manager to administration, while also devoting herself to her husband and family in Grand Junction.

End of life care often poses an emotional challenge to healthcare workers. Barrios finds solace and stress relief in body building.


Written by Suzanne Bronson