‘2020 brought devastating changes, but we met this moment with change of our own.’

— Dr. Lilly-Marie Blecher, N.D., D.O.M., Taos Whole Health Integrative Care

As attention around the country focused upon the state of our health care systems, Taos became the unheralded epicenter of a series of breakthrough medical moments. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Lilly-Marie Blecher, N.D., D.O.M. and Co-Medical Director Joanna J. Hooper, M.D. of Taos Whole Health Integrative Care, TWH expanded health equity and accessibility of patient care through its nonprofit arm, Taos Whole Community Health. 

With the 2019 passage of the Naturopathic Doctors’ Practice Act, N.M. Senate Bill S135 – in which Dr. Blecher played a crucial role – New Mexico became one of 24 states to license naturopathic doctors. 

Building on this success, Dr. Blecher was able to secure Medicaid authorization, making New Mexico one of five states providing low income access to naturopathic medicine.  Then, in 2020 another landmark – TWH established the first naturopathic medical residency program in New Mexico.

Today, Taos Whole Community Health is a model that is sustainable for both the community and its medical providers.

“When New Mexico began granting licenses to naturopathic doctors for the first time, and we were successful at securing Medicaid coverage for their services, it ensured that more people would have access to integrative primary care,” explained Dr. Blecher, who, in addition to her medical practice at TWH, serves as Executive Director of TWCH.   

“With an outpouring of the community’s generosity and support, we successfully launched our residency program, thus bringing Dr. Sarah Bréant, N.D., D.O.M., to Taos,” Dr. Blecher continued. 

“Within weeks of arriving at the clinic, she was seeing between 20 to 30 patients per week for their primary care. Many of these patients had not had a primary care provider in many years or, in some cases, never at all. They can now use her services to avoid pain medications, avoid unnecessarily using the emergency room during a pandemic and build a sustainable doctor-patient relationship for years to come.” 

Blecher also noted that, in addition to providing more access to patients with Medicaid and Medicare, TWCH is a unique and valuable learning opportunity for N.D.s, and encourages quality medical providers to relocate to Northern New Mexico.  

“We can continue to expand our positive presence in the region, offering more patient options while giving providers a dynamic environment in which to develop their practices.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone: increased public health outreach while addressing social determinants and structural inequities in health care.”

Ultimately, Blecher concluded, “Our mission in 2021 is to pave the way to recovery. We want to make sure that our community heals from the effects of COVID, including those ‘long haul’ patients needing care for ongoing recovery. Low-income patients struggling with addiction, diabetes or pain management may seek holistic primary care with Dr. Bréant.” 

Taos Whole Health Integrative Care is an important bridge between Western medicine modalities and those of natural medicine. In addition to Eastern and Western primary care and naturopathic medicine, providers are trained in acupuncture, core synchronism, craniosacral, massage, myofascial release, nutritional and yoga therapies.

Taos Whole Health Integrative Care is located at 1331 Maestas Road, Taos. Call (575) 776-7806 for further information or to schedule an appointment. For more, visit their website, taoswholehealth.org or email info@taoswholehealth.org.  

To learn more about the nonprofit Taos Whole Community Health or to make a donation, visit taoswholehealth.org/nonprofit or email nonprofit@taoswholehealth.org.

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