Thursday, November 11, 2010

Socorro Welcomes New Doctor

By Rebecca Rose

Socorro General Medical Group welcomed a new doctor, Dr. Alois “Louie” Treybal, D.O., to their offices on Highway 60. Dr. Treybal is a family medicine and primary care physician, serving Socorro and its neighboring communities. In an interview with Mountain Mail, he discussed the unique challenges of practicing in a rural community, and the steps patients can take to prevent serious health issues.
Originally from Delta Junction, Alaska, Dr Treybal started out working as a petroleum engineer. An interest in medicine led him to sign on as a volunteer ambulance driver for his local clinic. “I never wanted to be a doctor, but I loved medicine. I was thinking about being a paramedic.”
When the doctor he worked for found out he was considering a career as an EMT, he convinced him to enroll in medical school. He enrolled in medical school at the the University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, where he received a degree in 2007. He spent two years studying and working in Ohio, and then completed his internship and residency program at Southern Colorado Family Medicine in Pueblo in July of this year, before moving to Socorro.
According to Dr. Treybal one of the biggest problems facing Socorro is a lack of qualified providers. “There’s an overall lack of health care in rural communities. That’s a sad and horrible thing,” he said. “We don’t see doctors going in to rural communities. Presbyterian is really doing a good job of really trying to recruit here.”
Dr. Treybal said he routinely emphasizes preventive care for his patients. “A lot of people have being getting acute care, but the long term care is lagging,” he said “We could get rid of a lot of problems if we did more preventative medicine.”
“You can’t get the flu from the flu shot,” he said, addressing a common myth. “You can go from simple cold symptoms to pneumonia and hospitalization in an instant. I can prevent that with a shot.”
He said there are other simple steps people can take to improve their health, starting with eliminating smoking, alcohol, and soda. “Soda is the worst thing in the world. They should ban it,” he said. “One can of soda averages about 230 to 260 calories. That’s the same number of calories as 2 lbs of fat.”
“The two best things you can do that will help your health is walk 30 minutes a day and eat dinner as a family,” he said. “I could fix 80% of the problems if patients had strong family support. I encourage people to walk with their families. You have no idea how beneficial walking everyday can be.”
“As a doctor, you’re trained to use medication. But the flip side is, you have to work with the patient, too,” he said. “If you’re human with people, they’re more accepting.”
Dr. Treybal’s wife is Dr. Mindy Treybal, a hospitalist for Socorro General, who holds a degree in biology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The couple met as medical students in Kansas City and moved to Socorro together. They were engaged on Baldy Mountain and married in town.
He and his wife are expecting their first child early next year. Dr. Treybal said they are planning to stay rooted to the community. “This is exactly where I’m meant to be. I love it here,” he said. “Somebody asked me how long I plan to stay in Socorro. I told them I’ll re-evalute in 30 years.”

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