Burrell Faculty Member Dr. Adela Lente Presents at NMAFP Family Medicine Seminar

From July 23rd to 24th, the New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians (NMAFP) held its annual Family Medicine Seminar. This is their 63rd annual seminar in the history of the academy. The NMAFP is the largest medical specialty association for Family Medicine Physicians in New Mexico, with over 1,100 members. Their members include practicing Family Medicine Physicians, Residents-in-Training, Medical Students with an interest in pursuing Family Medicine, and Retired Family Medicine Physicians.

“We reach a variety of Specialties, but most importantly, many Family Physicians in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado,” says Dr. Karen Vaillant, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine & Regional Assistant Dean of the Eastern NM Hub. “The intent is to have local and national experts in Family Medicine present topics of particular interest to Family Physicians.”

This tear was a 2-Day virtual conference featuring topics ranging from Disparities in Native American Healthcare to Dermoscopy and Opioid use disorder

Dr. Adela Lente, Associate Dean of Clinical Education & Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Surgery

Dr. Adela Lente, Associate Dean of Clinical Education & Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Surgery at the Burrell College was among fourteen different physicians who presented their research at the Family Medicine Seminar. Dr. Lente’s research, titled “Disparities in Native American Health,” examines the issues that Native American communities face when accessing health care, and the repercussions this has on their overall health outcomes.

“I grew up on the Isleta reservation. My family used the IHS [Indian Health Service] for health care,” says Dr. Lente. “It was not a very robust health care system and there were many issues with getting health care.  It was not always possible to get the care that was not offered at the local clinic or the Albuquerque IHS hospital. I did not know there was anything different until I entered college and got insurance coverage through the student health center. Native Americans are still dealing with the issues I grew up with a health care system that is under-funded since its inception.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Native American Communities were hit particularly hard. So much so that the rate of death in Native American populations was 2.4 times higher than that of White or non-Hispanic populations. “There are many factors that contributed to these outcomes, such as lack of housing, lack of running water, and health status of Native Americans,” says Dr. Lente. “The health disparities in Native American communities are extensive. The social determinants of health need to be addressed in Native American communities.”

A key takeaway that Dr. Lente would like others to know from her research findings is that the IHS is not insurance, it is a health services provider, and is not portable in the same way that health insurance is. “The IHS operates at about 50% of what it needs to provide health care services to Native Americans,” says Dr. Lente. “The budget needs to be funded at 100% to address all the health care needs of Native Americans.”

To learn more about the NMAFP and Dr. Lente’s research visit https://www.familydoctornm.org/ and navigate to the “conference presentations” tab.