Dr. Jake Cripe, 40, hopped around a bit before landing in Colorado Springs in late 2018. He’d spent some time in Hawaii, where his mom is from, and Louisiana, where his dad is from, but a good chunk of his life played out in Texas.
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit medical director at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs received his undergraduate degree in political science from Texas A&M and attended medical school in Galveston, Texas.
“There were some mentors who were really fantastic who led to Dallas. I did my pediatric residency in Dallas, which was three years at Children’s [there],” he said.
But, ever since learning to ski here as a child, Cripe wanted to live in Colorado. The opportunity came to call Denver home and Cripe spent three years there as part of his pediatric critical care fellowship. That led to an eight-year stint in New Orleans where he helped grow a pediatric ICU from 14 beds to 26 before the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs, not yet built, came calling.
“When they called I thought they were asking me to come back to Denver. That had been brought up in the past. But my wife and I weren’t that enthusiastic about living in Denver,” he said. “But they said the Springs. Well that’s a whole different deal! We came out here and loved it — it was an easy decision.”
Cripe was named associate medical director in New Orleans before he moved west.
He’s quickly had an impact with Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs.
“For me, this was one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country without a children’s hospital. So there was a huge need here and had been here a long time. To see that need being met and to be a part of that was great,” he said.
Dr. Mike DiStefano, chief medical officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs, was one of Cripe’s nominators for the Rising Stars award. DiStefano wrote, “...I had the pleasure of working alongside Dr. Cripe as he took the lead in standing up our 16-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in the new children’s hospital that opened in our community in May 2019. The time, energy and care that went into the opening is just one demonstration of his willingness to collaborate and sacrifice his time for the good of those around him.”
Cripe is also an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics for the School of Medicine at University of Colorado-Anschutz and is co-chair of the Colorado Springs Code Steering Committee; a member of the Medical Staff Oversight Committee; a member of the Inpatient Leadership Committee; a member of the PICU Steering Committee; and a physician representative for the Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs PICU Unit Practice Council, to name a few.
So what does it mean to be named a Rising Star?
“It’s humbling actually. It really is,” he said. “It’s a huge honor for someone who hasn’t been in the community that long and it’s exciting for me because so much is going on in the community. To be part of a group that wants to make this area great is a big deal. I’m proud to be part of such a great group.”