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Top Doc

Sandia’s Dr. Melissa Garcia recognized for work in family practice medicine

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Dr. Melissa Garcia

Sandia’s Dr. Melissa Garcia (3334) was recognized as a Top Doctor in Albuquerque The Magazine’s annual Top Docs issue in March. The honorees were chosen through a survey of Albuquerque-area doctors, who were asked, “If you had to refer a loved one to a doctor other than yourself, to whom would you refer them?”

“I’m honored to be recognized because it’s based on votes from your peers,” Melissa says. “But I really think every primary care doctor and every physician who has continued to serve the patients of New Mexico deserves recognition, because this is a very hard state with a lot of unique challenges, and so the fact that people choose to stay and practice here, I think should be recognized.”

Melissa works in Sandia’s Health Management Clinic, which offers chronic disease management services for cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, depression, and tobacco cessation. She has worked as a physician in Albuquerque for 17 years, joining Sandia a year ago.

“I like working at Sandia because I can focus on a smaller scope of conditions, and my interest is obesity medicine,” Melissa says.  “I think employees have a unique opportunity to engage in bettering their health at Sandia with our integrated model.”

She takes the time to listen to patient concerns and then will go the extra mile to help.

In the Health Management Clinic, employees can schedule appointments with Melissa and Sandia’s other health educators for one-on-one visits and coaching, and they can also take advantage of online and in-person group education classes. Melissa says this integrated model can make a big difference for individual successes.

“We have a great team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists, behavioral health professionals, and physical activity experts who work together,” she says. “Having peer support can be really helpful too, which is a benefit of attending one of our group classes. Seeing patients support one another is unique, rewarding, and pretty powerful.”

Health Management Clinic coordinator and nurse educator Johanna Grassham (3334) says Melissa has been a good addition to the team and is already making an impact.

“Dr. Garcia is the best combination for a doctor: extremely intelligent and competent in patient care skills and diagnosis, but also caring, empathetic, and personable,” Johanna says. “She takes the time to listen to patient concerns and then will go the extra mile to help. Sometimes patients have complicated cases, and I have seen Dr. Garcia take lots of time after an appointment to research options and connect people with specialists as needed.”