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|Meet Local healthcare providers and hear their ideas|
|Written by Melissa Guz|
|Saturday, 16 April 2011 19:52|
Even with the Tombstone Family Health clinic open full time on Fremont Street, many Tombstone residents said they don't have a clue about their health-care providers, the services provided or the health issues dominating the area.
Aaron Castle, FNP-C
For nine months, Aaron Castle has served as Tombstone's family nurse practitioner.
Born in Reno, Nev., Castle grew up all over the Southwest before he joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 18.
During his military career, Castle graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Phoenix in 1998 before obtaining his Master of Science degree as a primary care family nurse practitioner from California State University, Fresno, in 2008."I see people from the cradle to the grave, so to speak," Castle said. "I like seeing everybody through the age spectrum and being the primary care person these people come to see."
Castle spent his remaining two years in the military as a nurse practitioner. After 27 years in the service, he decided to retire after hearing about an opening for the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center.
Today, he is available full-time at Tombstone's clinic.
Dr. David Brown
Growing up, Dr. David Brown always knew he wanted to be a doctor.
"My three older siblings and I would play games, and I usually played the doctor and made people feel better," Brown said. "As long as I could remember, that's what I wanted to do."
An Indiana native, Brown spent a great deal of his life achieving his dream. He attended college six years later than the norm, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree followed by a Master of Science degree from Western Michigan University.
He went on to attend the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine for his medical degree before practicing family care at the residency program in the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals in Milwaukee.
Twenty-two years ago, Brown moved to Sierra Vista to work as a physician at Arizona Family Care Associates Inc. Four years later, he opened his own practice called Papago. It lasted for 18 years due to the decline of reimbursement.
"I knew I didn't want to retire, and I wanted to keep working. ... (Then) an opportunity was made available," he said.
Brown found himself applying for a position with the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center. Today, he is one of its medical directors, focusing on its rural health clinics, including Tombstone Family Health.
The trends they see
During the nine months Castle has served as Tombstone's nurse practitioner, he has seen a common trend when it comes to his patients, as well as the health issues a majority of them face.
Tombstone Family Health has about 180 patients. On average, Castle sees about five to 10 per day. Though they span all age groups, the clinic tends to attract the older community.
"It's dominantly a senior-oriented demographic. There's more 50 and above compared to Douglas and Sonoita," Castle said.
Based on mere qualitative observation and not quantitative data, Castle and Brown also noted that the dominating health issues of Tombstone appear to be heart and lung related, with the occasional diabetes and high blood pressure.
"Very rarely do you see or take health issues in a positive light (but) our demographic is more smoking and drinking oriented," Castle said. "There is an increase in tobacco and alcohol use (for) smoking and drinking is more of a recreational activity here."
Castle and Brown stressed that they didn't intend to make any of their patients feel alienated by disclosing general health trends in Tombstone. Instead, they want to help keep their patients and the town's residents informed on what they encounter, as well as help them benefit from the information.
One way Tombstone can benefit from this information is by continuing to engage in preventative health care like lowering or eliminating their intake of tobacco and alcohol all together, as well as establish regular care with a clinic rather than just visiting for urgent issues, Castle said.
"Wherever you are, there are problems. People in general need to be more aware and be more assertive in taking care instead of putting it off because some of these things aren't fixable, Brown said.
If there's one goal the Tombstone Family Health clinic strives to accomplish, it's making sure its patients receive the best health care and treatment. One way to do so is by providing services that helps increase patients' comfort and economic level, Brown said.
As of right now, the clinic only provides basic primary-care services, such as check-ups, vaccinations and physicals.
Currently, patients are sent to Sierra Vista with an order to receive a lab draw. Even then, it takes days for their results to come in, which can result in anxiety or stress, Brown said.
"This way, they don't have to drive, especially with the price of gas. It saves them money, it's more convenient, and we can readily have an answer," Brown said.
Castle noted this change may be in effect later this year.