When you go to your doctor’s office to get help for something like high blood pressure, you wouldn’t expect to get a prescription to join a walking group. There’s a program that does just that for areas in Albuquerque that have higher rates of chronic diseases.
The Wellness Referral Center connects patients with services focused on a healthy lifestyle. That could be a cooking class or a course on how to manage diabetes.
Jesse Barnes is a physician at the South Valley’s First Choice Community Healthcare clinic. They refer people to the center.
“Some of our patients are surprised when we don’t just focus on ‘take this medication or take a stronger dose of this medication,’” he said. “But we tell them, ‘part of your treatment plan is to go out and walk, part of your treatment plan is to learn healthier ways to prepare the foods you’re used to preparing.’”
Doctor referrals to the center tripled between 2016 to 2017. There were only two clinics involved when the program started a couple of years ago. Now there are 13.
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.