Roswitha Smale, PhD

Roswitha and her husband Gordon (now deceased) first met Laurie at the Living Desert in Palm Desert around 2004. Roswitha has a broad educational background. With a Masters in both Anthropology and Speech Pathology as well as a PhD in Communication she has used her expertise in a variety of settings both professional and personal. She taught at both the University of Colorado Denver campus and the University of Denver where she earned her PhD. As a communication consultant in the Health Care setting she worked with numerous organizations, physician practices, hospitals, etc. to develop communication strategies as well as printed material. When her mother suffered a stroke and her in-laws were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she devoted her time to eldercare responsibilities and to negotiating the complex medical maze as an advocate for all three of them. Her communication skills and her relationships within the medical community became useful assets during this personally challenging time.

Roswitha has been a board member in several Denver based healthcare organizations, Hospice of Metro Denver, Qualife, Colorado Speaks Out on Health, PSL Hospital, as well as the ethics committee at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. After PSL Hospital merged and became part of the largest HealthCare system in Colorado with 6 hospitals, clinics, research and philanthropy divisions, she was elected chair of the board that governed the 50% community ownership of the newly formed entity, HealthOne. She simultaneously chaired the board of Hospice of Metro Denver and is still a strong supporter of the hospice movement.

In 2006 Roswitha and her husband chose to move to the Palm Springs area. She spent the next several years caring for her husband who had also developed Alzheimer’s. During that time she discovered yoga and subsequently become an instructor and opened a yoga studio with her teaching partner. After her husband’s diagnosis, she became involved with the Alzheimer Association and founded a support group for those still in the early stages. She also facilitated a weekly support group for caregivers. After her husband’s death she formed a support group for widows which is still going strong several years later. In her current chapter, Roswitha is immersed in philanthropy supporting architectural preservation in Palm Springs. She is a founder of the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Museum where she serves on the board. In addition, she has joined the board of Palm Springs Modern Committee whose mission is the preservation of iconic mid-century buildings in Palm Springs. She also continues to support the work of The Living Desert.