Debbie Welle-Powell

Adjunct Professor, University of Colorado, Former Chief Population Health Officer, Essentia Health

Past Chair, National Association of ACOs (NAACOS)



Debbie Welle-Powell is a health care thought leader, educator, national speaker, and content expert in delivery systems models of care, population health and digital care. As the former Chief Population Health Officer at Essentia Health, an integrated delivery system with 14 hospital, 1,500 provider health system spanning the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. she designed, built, and operationalized Essentia’s $2.5 billion dollar transition from a primarily fee-for-service model of care to one that focused on value, the patient and risk-based contracting with payers. The results led to forty- five percent of the system’s fee-for-service revenue tied to financial and clinical performance which produced record earnings on shared savings.

Welle-Powell is known for building high-performance teams. At Essentia she had financial and operational oversight of teams focused on payer contracting, care management, system quality, digital health and community health and benefit.

Her exceptional experience and background, coupled with industry involvement and insights into emerging opportunities, trends, and challenges have been valuable to health systems and purchasers seeking to grow, diversity and promote its expertise in the development and implementation of data-driven strategies and solutions in value-based care.


Debbie is extremely active in the community and serves on many boards including the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations, National Committee on Quality Assurance, Summit Community Care Clinic, and she teaches at the University of Colorado’s Executive MBA program.


Her work has earned her many honors including being recognized as 1 of 58 Top Leaders in Population Health by Becker’s in 2022, Women of Distinction from Girl Scouts Colorado, Colorado’s Most Powerful and Influential Women Award, Outstanding Businesswoman Award from the Denver community, the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Award for Philanthropy from Mile High United Way, Health Care Champion award from Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, and Inspiring Leadership award from CampExperience.

Debbie is Speaking At

Healthcare Beyond the Four Walls of the Hospital: Advancements in Virtual Care and RPM to Improve Access and Outcomes

Tuesday, June 20

12:10 PM - 1:00 PM