The New Mexico Department of Health and the Office of Health Equity have made it their goal to align with the overarching goal of the Healthy People 2020 initiative, which is fundamentally to reduce health disparities throughout New Mexico.
Integrative medicine is innovative, scientifically proven, and effective to address pain, addiction, diabetes and many more of the common health concerns of the low to no income members of our community. It is also the area of medicine that is least funded by Medicare and Medicaid, and is therefore out of reach for most people living below the poverty line, who could potentially benefit the most.
Taos Whole Community Health is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to elevate the health, wellness, productivity, and economic well-being of Taos and surrounding community in Northern New Mexico by providing affordable, innovative, and integrative healthcare. Our educational and medical services provide healthcare for the whole person, family and community.
We provide low to no cost acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, counseling services, ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, Mind-Body Medicine and more. All of these services are provided in a facility that is also integrated with family physicians (MDs) to provide access to the fullest spectrum of healthcare possible, and to encourage patients to access all of the appropriate levels of healthcare for their condition. TWCH also aims to expand access to integrative and preventative medicine early in the disease process in order to provide the best outcomes and to save the healthcare system the large costs of late stage intervention.
In 1996, someone told Lilly-Marie Blecher about an integrative health clinic called Outside In that provided health services by donation. Having already taken standard medications for her illness with little result, she jumped at the chance to be evaluated from a different perspective. Outside In provided both Western and Eastern medicines. Within one month, she became completely well. This was the beginning of Lilly’s life mission: To build a clinic much like Outside In in a rural area in great need of such services.
Lilly worked as an apprentice with Outside In for over 12 years, working with Portland’s large indigent, homeless youth, and HIV positive populations. She simultaneously worked towards her Bachelor’s of Science as a Pre-Medical student, then pursued her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine.
Dr. Lilly and her family moved to Taos to create their permanent home in 2012 and in 2013 started a private practice. In 2016 she connected with Dr. Joanna Hooper who was a Family Medicine Physician serving at the Federally Qualified Health Center, El Centro, in Taos. Dr. Joanna has extensive experience working with the underserved and indigent populations in the Peace Corps, in Albuquerque at UNM school of medicine as an attending physician, in Oregon at a mission clinic for Providence Health Systems, and in Taos at El Centro Family Health. Dr. Joanna has also trained community health workers in Guatemala.
The two doctors formed a team of 12 other integrative practitioners to serve the community. In July of 2018, Dr. Rasa Lila ND, joined the group to launch the newly formed, non-profit clinic. Dr. Rasa is from a low-income neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico and shares the passion of the founders to provide quality integrative primary care for the medically underserved in Taos. The doctors speak Spanish fluently, and have served immigrant populations extensively in the past.
Dr. Rasa is an activist for health equity and social justice. “At Taos Whole Community Health, I am not only committed to working with people suffering from chronic pain, trauma, and addiction, I am here to change the systems that keep people stuck in cycles of poverty and illness. Until every member of the community has access to all the health services available, we are not in an equitable society and we will not be well. I believe we have the capacity to work together with people of privilege and those without to reconcile and repair relationships, and forge a new system of health equity and justice. Together, we can overcome generational trauma and heal.”