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History of Craig Hospital

Timeline Highlights

1907- Frank Craig starts the "Tent Colony of Brotherly Love" on the plains in Lakewood west of Denver for indigent men with tuberculosis.

1910- Craig Colony was incorporated by Mrs. J.A. Cooper (widow of the former governor of Colorado who bought and donated the property to the Colony).

1916- The first of three building were constructed, by 1921 there were 48 cottages, and by 1923 there were two additional buildings on W. Colfax St.

1919- The name of the Tent Colony was changed to "Craig Colony" in memory of Frank Craig, who died of tuberculosis in 1914 at the age of 37.

1955- As tuberculosis declined with antibiotics, Craig shifted its emphasis to multiple diagnoses, MS, polio, MD, and SCI.

1957- Dr. John Young, M.D. arrives at Craig as Medical Director and intensifies Craig's exclusive focus in spinal cord injury and brain injury rehabilitation. Dr. Young is regarded as the Founder of the modern Craig, and his vision responsible for the success of Craig.

1958- Craig is renamed "Craig Rehabilitation Center" and constructs a major addition to the hospital for rehabilitation.

1959- After serving Native Americans for years, Craig signs a contract with the U.S. Public Health Service Bureau of Indian Affairs, to serve Native Americans with spinal cord injury at Craig, and establishes a four-time per year clinic in Gallup, N.M. for long-term follow-up care for patients in Arizona and New Mexico.

1966- Craig is renamed "Craig Rehabilitation Hospital".

1968- Dr. Young moves to Phoenix, and Robert R. Jackson MD becomes medical director. Dr. Jackson is credited with Craig's rejuvenated financial health through his advocacy with national insurance carriers as to the value of quality specialized rehabilitation.

1969- Governor John Love proclaims March 9-15 "Craig Rehabilitation Hospital Week in Colorado" in recognition of "the hospital's many contributions to state, regional, and national health care for the severely disabled". 1970- Craig moves from Lakewood to Englewood and builds an 80- bed rehabilitation hospital on the grounds of Swedish Hospital, connected to Swedish by a tunnel to access radiology, laboratory, surgery, and other ancillary services.

1970- Craig begins in-house neurosurgical program with Robert Edgar, MD

1973- Craig modified apartments across the street for transitional living experiences for patients, and for families of inpatients.

1973- Craig becomes one of the federally-designated SCI Model Systems Centers in the U.S., and begins enrolling patients in 1974.

1974- Current President Denny O'Malley starts first year as President of Craig.

1975- Designed by Harry R. Hahn, M.D., Craig opens the shared Neurotrauma Unit at Swedish Hospital- one of the first models of its kind with both intensive medical care and early rehabilitation therapy, with a Craig physician, Swedish nurses, Craig and therapists.

1975- Craig is renamed "Craig Hospital" by the Board to reflect the medical and rehabilitation services provided.

1975- Craig therapeutic recreation staff play major in international wheelchair athletics, and fourteen Craig athletes compete in National Wheelchair Athletic Association Games.

1977- The Traumatic Brain Injury Team is created distinct from the Spinal Cord Injury teams under the direction of Harry Hahn, MD and soon after is intensely developed by by Mark Cilo, M.D.

1978- Craig and "Pete" Peterson, MD intensify treatment and study of ventilator-dependent patients, high quadriplegia, and publish a leading text The Management of High Quadriplegia in 1989, and a national seminar in 1980.

1980- With administrative support, Craig Hospital staff were instrumental in the creation and early development of the Colorado Head Injury Foundation, later the Brain Injury Association of Colorado, which was responsible for the first statewide TBI Report to the Governor in 1987.

1983- Craig begins regular SCI Outreach Clinics with physicians and clinicians in Casper, Wyoming and Grand Junction, Colorado. Expanded in 1987 to Pueblo, Colorado as well.

1984- Dr. Dan Lammertse, MD becomes Craig's new Medical Director, and serves in that capacity until 2008.

1984- Dr. Dan Lammertse, MD becomes Craig's new Medical Director, and serves in that capacity until 2008.

1985- Craig establishes an in-house Neuroscience Lab, with EMG lab, neuromuscular lab, and neurosurgery lab; begins pre-FDA Ergys bike clinical trial.

1987- Craig physicians and staff are widely sought for presentations and publications, and average 75 professional presentations per year, and publish 20-25 articles and book chapters per year.

1989- U.S. News and World Report begins ranking hospitals, and ranks Craig in Top Ten Rehabilitation Hospitals in the U.S.

1991- Craig is trial site in Parastep/FES ambulation clinical trial.

1990- Craig staff and Robert Menter, MD intensify study and treatment of aging in spinal cord injury, and publish a leading text Aging in Spinal Cord Injury in 1993.

1996- Craig completes a new "transitional" building on the East Side of Clarkson St. with innovative patient-family rooms, adjoining skybridge and multiple treatment areas, research and business space- increases the number of total hospital beds to 93.

1996- Scott Falci MD conducts first embryonic spinal cord transplantation in the world for syringomyelia in Stockholm, Sweden, published in J. of Neurotrauma, 1997.

1996- Scott Falci MD conducts first embryonic spinal cord transplantation in the world for syringomyelia in Stockholm, Sweden, published in J. of Neurotrauma, 1997.

1998- Craig becomes a federally-designated TBI Model Systems Center by NIDRR.

2002- Craig constructs and opens a new 47 unit Outpatient and Family Housing Facility on-campus for re-evaluation patients and families of inpatients, to replace its aging apartments.

2003- Craig constructs and opens an in-house Cell Center with a Class 10,000 Clean Room and becomes first trial site in the U.S. for Proneuron's Phase II Activated Macrophage Clinical Trial.

2004- Denny O'Malley celebrates his 30th year as President of Craig. Daniel P. Lammertse, M.D. celebrates his 20th year as Medical Director. The Multitrauma Unit at Swedish is 30 years old.

2005- Craig was awarded the prestigious Magnet Status Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center

2005- Finalist in El Pomar Joel A.H. Webb Award for Healthcare-Large

2006- Was re-awarded TBI Model System Center designation and the TBI National Statistical Data Center by NIDRR for 2006-2011. Was re-awarded SCI Model System Center designation by NIDRR for 2006-2011.

2007- Celebrated our 100 Year Anniversary of our founding by Frank Craig in 1907. Colorado Biz Magazine "Best Healthcare Company" Award

2008- Craig opens new Mike Utley Terrain Park for mobility training. Craig Web Site re-done. Craig collaborates with the DoD and V.A. Denny O'Malley retires after 34 years. Mike Fordyce is new President/CEO. Dr. Dan Lammertse transitions from Medical Director to full time work in SCI Research at Craig. Dr. Balazy named Medical Director. Seven Craig graduates compete in the Beijing Olympics. Craig begins diaphragmatic pacing procedures.

2009- Craig celebrates its 20th consecutive year of ranking in the Top Ten Rehabilitation Hospitals by Us News & World Report. The 30th year of Hobie Day is celebrated. The Kappa Book and Author dinner marks it's 20th year.

2010- Equine, Child Care, and Graduate Liaison programs were launched. Craig received prestigious Magnet Status for the second time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center- first time was 2005. Dr. Gale Whiteneck, director of Craig's research department received ACRM's highest honor- the Gold Key Award of Merit. Cindy Dahlberg, director of quality received ACRM's prestigious Fellow Award. Dan Lammertse, MD, received the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals' highest award- the Donald Munro Lectureship at the annual meeting. The Mark P. Cilo MD conference room is dedicated.

2011- Craig opened the "PEAK Ctr at Craig Hospital". American Nurses Association (ANA) honored Craig as the #1 “Rehabilitation Hospital” in the U.S. for achieving outstanding nursing quality, based on the nursing performance measures in ANA’s National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators®. Craig was re-selected as a SCI Model System Center and TBI National Statistic Data Center by NIDRR. Alan H. Weintraub, M.D. was awarded the highest clinical honor by the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS). Craig's media department's two videos won 13 Telly Awards and 2 Gold Leaf awards. The Colorado legislature created special Craig Hospital license plates that will go on sale January 1, 2012. Craig is the first hospital in Colorado to have a special license plate. Craig received the El Pomar Award for the Outstanding Non-Profit health care organization in Colorado. In 2011, Craig employees and physicians delivered 121 local, regional, and national presentations and published 42 book chapters, journal articles, and professional papers.

2012- In January 2012, Craig Hospital hosted the TBI Summit Conference in Beaver Creek. Craig would become the first rehabilitation hospital to use Ekso Bionics Eksoskeleteon commercially in March of 2012. Dr. Alan Weintraub, MD delivered the Keynote Address at the North American Brain Injury Association Conference. Dr. Lammertse received the Lifetime Achievement Award at American Spinal Injury Association annual conference and delivered Keynote address. Dr. Tom Balazy, MD, Medical Director was named in 5280 Magazines Top Docs. Cynthia Braden, MA, CCC-SLP was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. The Denver Post recognized Craig Hospital as the #3 workplace for Large Companies accompanied with a Top Workplaces Award in “Meaningfulness”. Craig Hospital would also receive awards for “Employee Safety” by the Colorado Division of Workers Compensation and the ANCC Magnet Prize® for the Nurse Advice Line. In 2012, Craig employees and physicians delivered 109 scientific presentations along with publishing 26 book chapters, journal articles, and professional papers.

2013- Craig Hospital and Craig graduate, Kevin Pearce, was featured in the HBO documentary “The Crash Reel” premiering at Sundance Film Festival and Denver’s Sports Authority Field. The Denver Post recognized Craig Hospital as the #2 workplace for Large Companies and an award for special “Training.” Craig receives the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital Quality Award from the American Nurses Association (NDNQI). The Media Services Department at Craig received two international Web Health Awards for “Medical Education.” Dr. Michael Makley and Dr. Jeff Berliner joined the CNS Medical Group and Craig family. Dr. Tom Balazy, MD, Medical Director and Alan Weintraub, MD were named in 5280 Magazine’s Top Docs issue. Claire Cahow, CRTS received ASCIP’s Distinguished Clinical Award. Cindy Harrison-Felix, Ph.D. awarded Academy of Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine’s prestigious “Fellow” Award at the ACRM meeting in November. Craig hosted a “Topping Party” to celebrate the last piece of construction steel being placed on the new fourth floor and to honor Hammes, RTA, and GE Johnson.

2014- Craig Hospital received the NDNQI Top Hospital Quality Award in the Rehabilitation Category. Thomas Carr, Director of Therapeutic Recreation, coordinated all on-ice activities for the 28th annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colorado. Alan Weintraub, MD was elected to serve on the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) board. Thomas Balazy, MD was appointed to the Pinnacle Physicians Advisory Board. Three Craig physicians, Dr. Thomas Balazy, MD, Dr. Mark Johansen, MD and Dr. Alan Weintraub, MD were ranked in the 5280 Top Doctors 2014 magazine. Dr. Lester Butt, PhD received the 2014 recipient of the ASCIP James J. Peters Distinguished Service Award. Cynthia Harrison-Felix, PhD, principal investigator of the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury Model System Center and the National Data and Statistical Center for the TBI Model Systems, received a recognition award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) for her work in the NIDRR-funded traumatic brain injury projects. Craig Hospital unveiled the Indego exoskeleton as part of the launch of a multi-center study. Craig was the first of three leading rehabilitation centers within the United States to receive Indego—a powered lower limb orthosis, also known as exoskeleton. Craig was ranked in US News and World Report Top Ten Rehabilitation Hospitals for the 25th consecutive year.

2015- Craig Hospital hosted it’s second Brain Injury Summit in Vail, CO where more than 450 people from 39 states and 10 countries came together. Craig Hospital was granted recognition as a Magnet-designated organization for the third consecutive time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®. (Craig Hospital is the first freestanding rehabilitation hospital and one of less than 100 Magnet hospitals in the world to achieve three consecutive Magnet designations). Craig Hospital received the NDNQI Top Hospital Quality Award for 5 out of the last 6 years. Craig Hospital’s Skybridge was renamed to honor Dave and Gail Liniger, major Craig benefactors and graduates. Craig Hospital hosted Pedal 4 Possible, a charity bike ride to help fund innovative therapy programs that help Craig Hospital patients. Three Craig Hospital physicians made the list once again. This year’s “Top Docs” at Craig Hospital were Tom Balazy, MD, Mark Johansen, MD and Alan Weintraub, MD. On August 29, 2015, Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, proclaimed "Redefining Possible Day" in Denver, CO, to coincide with the grand opening of the Redefining Possible portrait series at the Wildlife Experience at CU South Denver.

History of the "Broken Man"

During the 1960’s the “broken man” design was created by Brad Hodgkins, husband of Nancy Hodgkins, former Speech and Language Pathologist at Craig. The design symbolized the goal of rehabilitation at Craig- to help people with disabilities to have meaningful lives following spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.

When Craig moved to its present location in 1970, the symbol was permanently placed as a cornerstone in the wall near the front door of Craig’s West Building. For four decades the “broken man” has become an enduring symbol of hope. Patients, families, and staff have appreciated the meaning and beauty of the simple design. Unique mementos portraying the broken man can be found in Craig’s Gift Shop in the West Building.

In 2007 in celebration of Craig's 100th Anniversary, Craig alumni Herb Tabak wrote a eighty page fascinating history of Craig. Click below to download a pdf of the book.


If you would like a hard copy of the original softbound book, e-mail Beth Gargan at and ask Beth to mail you a copy.

Craig Hospital: A Century of Rebuilding Lives (1907-2007) and author Herb Tabak won the Colorado Independent Publishers Association's 2008 Distinguished Book Award for Outstanding Special Book Publishing.