Reimagine Healthcare & Healing with Casa de Salud!

(Photo above: Several Casa de Salud team members photographed alongside NASTAD Drug User Health initiative harm reduction leaders visiting from around the nation, after deep conversation with our team).

Please support Casa de Salud as we boldly reimagine healthcare and healing, in our 18th year of dreaming and building. 

“Casa de Salud is one of the most adventurous attempts to make healthcare genuinely for the people.”
  -- Dr Pritpal Tamber

At Casa de Salud, we fiercely believe:

  • That healthcare is a right.
  • That anti-racist care, harm reduction, and cultural humility are critical.
  • That healthcare has a responsibility to build power with community.
  • That true access to care means affordable, trusted, dignified care.
  • That health worker voices - in solidarity with community voices - are powerful.

Casa de Salud’s model of care – though open to all – specifically lifts up and centers primary care for immigrants, low-income and uninsured New Mexicans, queer/transgender community members, drug users, and people seeking recovery and treatment for addictions. We see healthcare from a lens that understands histories of inequalities, oppressions, and structural forces. We see the strengths of our community members, as well as the cultural richness that exists around us. It is with this historical analysis and appreciation for the power within our community that we build towards collective wellness and liberation. We situate ourselves in the community as a change agent, developing models for advocacy for patients and organizing for health rights.

Below are a few highlights of our work in service to our community, in 2022:

  • Our clinician and staff team supported our community with over 9500 patient visits. Over 70% of our patients are uninsured, the majority of the rest have Medicaid. Our visit prices have not increased in a decade. Plus, prices are transparent and affordable, and our sliding scale approach is dignified and easy.
  • We provided critical harm reduction services during a worsening opioid epidemic – we exchanged over half a million syringes, and we distributed over 300 doses of naloxone, or narcan, the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication. Of those, clients reported using 124 of these doses out in the community, to reverse overdoses and save loved ones’ lives.
  • Our community health workers - engaged with over 9700 community members in 2022, at Casa de Salud and at 52 outreach events. They distributed 8200 rapid home COVID tests kits to families in need, they helped many people get signed up for COVID boosters, and right here at Casa they organized 37 vaccine clinics where 484 people received COVID vaccines. They also helped New Mexicans struggling to pay rent in COVID times, through the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program (ERAP), achieving over $34,000 in support for people in need.
  • Our team supported over 15 Health Apprentice Fellows this year, through our rigorous, nationally recognized Health Apprentice Fellowship program. Our current fellows will join over 300 alumni of the health apprentice network – a wide range of leaders, primarily young people of color, serving their communities whether as healthcare professionals or leaders in other areas. And 9 former fellows are now on staff, serving as our Clinic Flow Coordinators, as our Health Apprentice Fellowship Developer, and as our Clinical Manager/Registered Nurse!
  • Our Strong Roots / Raices Fuertes comprehensive opioid addiction treatment and recovery program supported many patients with low-barrier access to the life-saving medication buprenorphine. And our healers held 25 indigenous based / traditional healing “Healing Circles” this past year, for Strong Roots patients.
  • Our case managers intensively supported over 60 clients with significant needs relating to structural determinants of health – many monolingual Spanish speaking community members, and many people with co-occuring mental health and substance use issues. The success stories of people gaining their agency back and building their dream quality of life, are profound.
  • Our community organizer continued our tradition of supporting uninsured people with overwhelming hospital medical debt, saving them financial stress, expanding access to critical healthcare – while also helping to transform our safety net public hospital’s billing practices and hospital discount programs. Over the last decade we have helped save Bernalillo County residents over $3 million in medical debt.
  • We expanded partnerships with the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the NM Department of Health; with local and national foundations – and with community partner organizations.
  • We expanded benefits for our hardworking staff team - who have been working on site at Casa de Salud during the entire COVID pandemic – and we are expanding benefits for 2023 too.

And some highlights of our deep involvement in local and statewide action to transform care:

  • We re-launched our VIDA Leaders Network of health workers and community members and are excited to build community together and organize together around our main focus areas of 1) Healthcare access, 2) Addictions, and 3) Community Safety.
  • Our Executive Director, Dr Anjali Taneja, received the New Mexico Ethics in Business Award, one of six recipients statewide – which is a reflection of our entire team at Casa and the integrity and ethics which guide us in our work.
  • Casa de Salud, along with partners around the country, had a workshop accepted at the National Harm Reduction Conference in Puerto Rico. The workshop was “Lessons from Primary Care Clinics: Integrating Harm Reduction Principles into Healthcare Settings”
  • Harm reduction leaders from around the country, as part of NASTAD’s Drug User Health initiative, visited Casa de Salud and sat in deep conversation with our staff - we learned so much from each other!
  • Our nurse/clinical manager and several other former health apprentices on staff at Casa de Salud, presented a workshop about Casa’s Health Apprentice Fellowship, at the premier conference on health professional education innovations, Beyond Flexner Alliance, in Phoenix Arizona.
  • Casa’s Executive Director was invited to speak at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, and traveled to Tucson, Arizona to speak about Casa’s model of care.
  • Casa de Salud staff are appointees to several statewide councils: the Governor’s Council for Racial Justice, the New Mexico Primary Care Council, and the New Mexico Opioid Overdose Prevention Council - and locally on both the Bernalillo County Addiction Treatment Advisory Board and the Bernalillo County/UNM Hospital Task Force.
  • Casa de Salud is proud to be on the steering committee of the New Mexico Together for Healthcare campaign (along with New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, Strong Families Forward Together, and Health Action NM - fierce partners in this work).
  • Casa was invited to speak at the Fentanyl Summit hosted by Bernalillo County, and we served as a community partner, tabling and doing outreach and narcan distribution there.
  • Casa’s on the steering committee for the Coalition for a Safer Albuquerque, working to ensure the city and county are strategically planning together for improved responses to community safety and behavioral health needs in our community.
  • Casa team members are helping to craft and introduce two important pieces of legislation for the 2023 legislative session in New Mexico – including a bill expanding Medicaid (Medicaid Forward) and one ensuring access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) for addictions, in jails and prisons across the state. We are also working to ensure proper implementation of the Healthcare Affordability Fund, the Patient Debt Collection Protection Act, and more legislation that was passed in recent years.

Below are some ways you can support our work and spread the word!


Lastly, an important note:

Clinics such as Casa de Salud are working against many forces shaped by the evolving healthcare industry. As of this past year, and with the COVID pandemic accelerating this trend, over 70% of all physicians in the United States were employed by a hospital or a corporate entity, including private equity firms. During the COVID pandemic, corporate entities’ acquisition of independent practices grew by 84% and this trend is only expected to continue.

Help preserve independent neighborhood based, accessible community rooted healthcare that is relational and that works to provide high quality care to those most in need, while building power to transform the structural determinants of health and the larger ecosystem of care.

With gratitude,

The entire Casa de Salud team, including our clinicians, staff, health apprentice fellows, and board of directors.

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Please see below for much more on our work.

REIMAGINING HEALTHCARE AND HEALING

Casa serves our community and patients with visits for low-cost primary care, acute care, counseling/therapy, acupuncture, massage, reiki, curanderismo, Indigenous-based healing circles, ear acudetox, and syringe exchange/narcan distribution. Over 70% of our visits are for patients without health insurance. We provide care that is accessible, low-cost, transparently priced, holistic, thorough, and, above all, grounded in love. At a time of great fear in the community around healthcare and public services, Casa is a safe space for those who are most marginalized in our country. Casa works to center and uplift marginalized communities — those who either have been traditionally othered by the healthcare system (immigrants, monolingual Spanish speaking patients, LGBT/queer community members, and community members struggling with addictions). There are few models of truly integrative care such as ours — with western/conventional American medicine working hand in hand with Eastern medicine and traditional healing medicine, and behavioral health clinicians, for community members who otherwise would not have access to these modalities. Recognizing that emotions and trauma are stored in our bodies, we intentional treat our patients as whole beings and use a mind/body/soul approach to ensure that we provide healthcare that heals.


Photo Copyright William Widmer. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Photo Copyright William Widmer. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Photo Copyright William Widmer. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


TRAINING THE FUTURE HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE OF NEW MEXICO

Casa de Salud has a robust health apprenticeship program, with 32 current apprentices. Casa’s health apprentice program trains the future healthcare workforce of New Mexico and beyond. Bilingual (English/Spanish) high school and college students from the surrounding community serve for 8 hours a week for a year or more. Apprentices commit 500+ volunteer or work-study hours in a year and many continue for two or three years, as senior health apprentices.

Health apprentices learn and perform medical assistant skills such as drawing blood and performing EKGs, at the same time that they learn about soft skills and cultural humility in working with our community of patients. They develop confidence and leadership, and receive mentoring and support. Health Apprentices also learn about the community and structural factors contributing to health and illness, and are deeply committed to serving their community in the future. 80% of our apprentices are young people of color and 80% are women — and many come from immigrant families or families without great privilege or access to resources.

Health Apprentices also learn about the community and structural factors contributing to health and illness, and are deeply committed to serving their community in the future. As part of our effort to educate and mentor Health Apprentices, 20 members of the health apprentice team experienced and participated in the international Social Medicine Consortium in Gallup, New Mexico.

Our 270+ health apprentice alumni are community leaders and clinicians and are transforming healthcare. Apprentices who go on to medical school and other schooling generally stay in New Mexico — a state with a critical shortage of primary care clinicians — and serve underserved communities. This program is truly transformative, as students see what is possible in an integrative community setting before entering institutions of medical training. And those of us in healthcare have a responsibility to shift privilege and access in our professions.



Health apprentices at the international Social Medicine Consortium in Gallup, NM. In total, 28 clinicians, staff, and health apprentices participated in this inspiring consortium.


Social Medicine Consortium screenprinting opportunity with Dr Chip Thomas (@jetsonorama), artist and physician with the Indian Health Service in Arizona. Health apprentices hold up t-shirts they made, saying "No to Racism"



GROWING OUR TEAM, OUR CULTURE, and LEADERSHIP

Casa de Salud is a woman of color-led organization, with an all women board of directors, and an all women executive leadership team. Fully 1/3rd of our staff identify as LGBT/Queer. 50% of our staff are people of color. 80% of our health apprentices are women, and 90% are young people of color. 90% of our staff are bilingual (English/Spanish) and 100% of our health apprentices are bilingual.

We invest in our dedicated staff, in terms of leadership development and financial/benefits support. We know we can do this important work in the community and support our team. From weekly all team meetings, to space for integrative healing discussions and processing among transdisciplinary clinicians, to a cultural humility that each staff member brings to our organization, we know we can grow together and know our work can be achieved better together.

This year we increased our capacity of clinicians able to provide gender affirming hormone therapy for transgender patients, and buprenorphine (suboxone) medication for opioid addiction treatment. In addition, several of our staff members are former health apprentices. 

We are grateful to the clinicians and staff who transitioned out of Casa de Salud this year, for educational and other pursuits. Each staff member who has touched this organization has brought so much lasting improvement to it.


REDUCING HARM, RESPONDING TO GENERATIONAL TRAUMA AND ADDICTIONS

We fiercely stand with our community. We believe that addictions and at-risk drug use are complex issues that are rooted in structural inequalities, generational poverty and trauma, and lack of social capital – and are further complicated by a lack of access to holistic and evidence-based treatment.

We work to meet people where they’re at -- embodying the concept of “harm reduction” in drug use and treatment. Our harm reduction approach means we’ve run a busy syringe exchange, and have provided access to effective, integrative treatment for opioid/heroin addictions, since 2005. We see addictions as a structural issue, not an individual problem, and our response involves providing shame-free humanized treatment as well as engaging our community in leadership/civic engagement opportunities to decrease social isolation and increase connectedness. We also work actively to shift policy and practice at the local and county level.

We exchange over 1 million syringes a year (to folks who brought in used syringes) with dignity and respect, so that community members can use more safely, reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, train others on the same, and if ready, they can transition to treatment for addictions with us or others. We also provide training for the life-saving antidote to opioid overdoses, narcan, to hundreds of individuals. Many have shared with us that the narcan they received from Casa de Salud helped save their life or the life of a loved one.

For 6 hours a week, we provide free drop-in ear acudetox (five acupuncture needles at key points around the ear) and relaxation opportunities for community members struggling from cravings, withdrawals, sleep problems, anxiety, stress, and more. We are grateful to the New Mexico Department of Health for the resources to provide these critical services in a community setting.

And for those who seek treatment for heroin and opioid pain pill addictions, we provide rapid access to integrate evidence based medication treatment with suboxone, with integrative healing of acupuncture, reiki, massage, and indigenous based healing circles, as well as health coaching and peer support, and therapy/counseling. Patients are also supported in their strengths, and we pursue creative approaches to civic engagement and collective healing -- the focus in this program is personalized but the approach is a community one.

This work is nationally recognized and we were previously supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars three year funding and leadership opportunity to strengthen this work and to work in partnership with nearby Centro Savila, a community based behavioral health organization. See our work here .

Joe McDonald, Clinic Flow Coordinator & Special Projects; and Maranda Perez, senior health apprentice, arranging syringes and other materials for the syringe exchange at Casa de Salud. Photo Copyright William Widmer. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


STRUCTURAL CHANGE AND COMMUNITY COLLABORATION

We know we must build power with our community, and since its inception, Casa de Salud has been supporting and leading efforts to address structural barriers to our community’s best health. Our VIDA team now encompasses direct services to address structural determinants of health, as well as health coaching and advocacy support to make change on a larger level. We continue to provide medical debt navigation (for uninsured patients with overwhelming hospital and emergency room bills), and are actively supporting efforts to shift attitudes and expand treatment opportunities for addictions in our county and state. We are also a member of the campaign to develop a Medicaid buy-in option for those in our state with private insurance or without health insurance.

We work in partnership with the Santa Fe Dreamers project, who provide a free drop-in legal clinic for DACA applicants and for others dealing with immigration issues. This service has been incredibly important for many of our community members, and we are grateful to SFDP for this ongoing partnership.

We are grateful for collaborations with several foundations and with Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, and the NM State Department of Health.


INVEST IN OUR WORK FOR AND WITH OUR COMMUNITY!

We currently do all of this work, and employ more than 20 employees and work with more than 30 health apprentices, while caring for those most in need -- with an operating budget of $1 million. We invite you to invest in us, support us, as we aim to meet the healthcare and healing needs of our community and build power with our community. Please share this crowdfunding page with friends, family, and others interested in innovative community-rooted and creative models of care. Please share this on social media, pass it on by email, and please give, no matter now small or large a donation.

Thank you! Casa love!

Health Apprentices (most of them) and several members of our Clinic Flow/Health Apprentice staff and supervision team.




  • Pritpal Tamber
    • $250 
    • 25 d
  • Juli Vizza
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Debbie Weissman
    • $200 
    • 1 mo
  • Om Taneja
    • $1,000 
    • 1 mo
  • Cori Blum
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Casa de Salud
Organizer
Albuquerque, NM
Justice Access Support and Solutions for Health
 
Registered nonprofit
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