A Unique Practice at CPMG

Dr. John Riopelle
Gastroenterologist

Dr. John Riopelle began his pursuit of a medical career with two years of dental school.

“Both my father and brother are dentists, but I realized I would like it better if my patients were able to respond to me when I asked them questions,” admits Dr. Riopelle.   

This realization led Dr. Riopelle to attend Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he developed an interest in gastroenterology.

“I liked the balance between seeing patients in clinic and doing procedures. As many of my friends have joked, I went from studying one orifice to two, and the second one was not as pleasant,” recalls Dr. Riopelle.

Dr. Riopelle completed an internal medicine residency in Worcester, Massachusetts, at a community hospital affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Health System. After meeting his wife in Massachusetts, they moved to Colorado for his gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

“Since I was 9 years old, I wanted to end up in Colorado. I had an uncle who lived here and I fell in love with the mountains and sunshine.”  

Several of Dr. Riopelle’s attending physicians during his fellowship worked for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG). He joined the company, one of the state’s largest multispecialty medical groups, in 2003 to serve Kaiser Permanente members in Colorado. He worked at the Kaiser Permanente Franklin Medical Offices and Saint Joseph Hospital for 11 years before moving to the newly opened Lone Tree Medical Offices in 2014.

“There are three things about CPMG that I’ve found set it apart – our patients, colleagues and culture. First and foremost, our patients are incredible. Many of them have been Kaiser Permanente members for several years or even decades. They are truly bonded to our integrated system and love their primary care providers. As a specialist, though, I still have the chance to build relationships with patients who have chronic illnesses and I see them year after year. The continuity of our health care system allows us to have a unique practice.”   

Dr. Riopelle also appreciates his colleagues’ team-oriented approach and exceptional medical expertise.

“The caliber of CPMG physicians is top-notch and first-rate. We are very privileged to have a strong core of primary care physicians who do a great job keeping members healthy and detecting medical issues. I also have great confidence when I call upon colleagues in other specialties to give me expert advice and help my patients,” says Dr. Riopelle.  

“The Gastroenterology department currently has 21 physicians. Having been here almost 15 years, I’m becoming part of the senior group. Even though we have gone from one specialty medical office to three, we still maintain a strong sense of camaraderie and collegiality. We work as one team to ensure our patients’ needs are met.”

Patients and colleagues – the key characters in Dr. Riopelle’s CPMG story – come together to define his perspective of the medical group’s culture.

“To me, our culture is displayed through the way that my patients and colleagues establish a community of care. It really imbues our daily practice with that sense of common mission that everyone is moving forward together. For example, a patient with a complaint of abdominal pain can be seen by three or four different providers for coordinated care, and we’re all on the same page because of our integrated electronic medical records and the way we communicate with one another.”

Dr. Riopelle shares about his journey as a leader at CPMG in part two of his story.

To learn more about working at CPMG, click here