At this year’s Villagwide event, DaVita recognized several teammates who model its Core Values and caring behaviors. While the Core Values provide a roadmap for which DaVita teammates interact with each other and drive clinical results, the caring behaviors known as WE CARE act as guiding principles to create an environment where patient experience is just as valued as clinical outcomes.
During the State of the Village address—a wide-ranging presentation from DaVita CEO, Javier Rodriguez, on the organization’s current and future state—one teammate was announced as the winner of DaVita’s WE CARE Award. This annual award recognizes the teammate who best embodies DaVita’s Caring Behaviors.
In 2023, Jose Leiva received this honor.
Leiva became a DaVita teammate in May of 2022. After serving as a medic in the military, he briefly left health care, but after some reflection, felt he could not shake an old military motto — “service before self.” He considered this belief to be foundational, and after some searching for the right avenue in health care, Leiva found a natural alignment with the DaVita culture.
In particular, DaVita’s Caring Behaviors—WE CARE—resonated. Through the acronym WE CARE, teammates are provided the principles through which DaVita seeks to foster strong, meaningful relationships with patients: Welcome, Empathize, Connection, Actively Listen, Respect and Encourage.
Armed with his commitment to service and with WE CARE, Leiva joined the Village ready to lead by example. He spent his first day at DaVita New Braunfels Dialysis in Texas as the new facility administrator determined to bring these principles to life: He took the time to introduce himself to and connect with every teammate and patient in the center.
“My purpose is that my team knows I care about my patients,” Leiva says. “It’s such a simple concept, WE CARE. The team knows ‘WE CARE,’ and they’ll react to it.”And his dedication had a ripple effect.
Seeing their leader make this concerted effort inspired the team to find new ways to make the caring behaviors more present in their own work, serving to help the team succeed and instill a deep sense of support for patients and teammates alike.
Leiva was recognized with the WE CARE award because he consistently championed all of the caring behaviors in every patient interaction and was a role model to his team.
Before calling Leiva to the stage, Rodriguez described the intent behind celebrating the caring behaviors – that they are meant to be actions consistently demonstrated throughout DaVita centers across the country.
“We want to make sure that [WE CARE] is not something that’s casual, it’s something that’s really deliberate,” said Rodriguez. Leiva agrees with the sentiment.
Leiva says the experience of hearing DaVita’s CEO read aloud the winning nomination and describe the impact the WE CARE award recipient had on his DaVita community was “surreal.”
“Sitting there before [the winner] was announced was really weird because I thought to myself, ‘I do the same thing!’”
“To me, WE CARE is authenticity,” says Leiva. With authenticity, he says, comes trust, followed by a mutual love for one another and an understanding that the team supports each other in their daily interactions.
While on stage to receive his award, Leiva quickly shared his moment with his team and credited them for the center’s success. “It’s all them,” declared Leiva. “Their success is my success.”