Offering Advanced, Accessible Care to Treat the Whole Patient
In healthcare, forward thinking is critical. New techniques and technologies are constantly developing. This ultimately benefits patients as the latest protocols can help them live long and healthy lives.
Caroline T. Mears, DO, internist at Aspen Valley Primary Care, understands the importance of lifelong education. She has started exploring cold water therapy to help promote health and healing.
“One of the reasons I became interested in studying medicine is there is no end to what can be learned,” Dr. Mears said. “I have recently been studying the work of world-renowned researchers who have found that cold water exposure can lead to astounding health benefits.”
Studies have found that cold therapy can help reduce chronic inflammation, widely considered a leading cause of aging and disease. But the benefits don’t end there. This type of treatment has also been shown to offer a host of other advantages, including boosting metabolism, helping anxiety and even improving sleep.
“I’m discovering that Aspen is rich in opportunities for cold water immersion from locals who know the best swimming spots,” Dr. Mears said. “But like any new health practice, it’s important to consult a physician to see if it is right for you.”
Laying the Groundwork for Good Health
Originally from Chesapeake, VA, Dr. Mears is a new internist at Aspen Valley Primary Care. Dr. Mears graduated from the University of Virginia before attending Campbell University of Osteopathic Medicine in Lillington, NC. She then completed an internal medicine residency at East Virginia Medical School where she was a chief resident.
As an internist, Dr. Mears treats adults ages 18 and older. Internists are also commonly called primary care physicians. To put it another way, internists are to grownups what pediatricians are to children.
“In my opinion, an internist is the foundation of health,” Dr. Mears said. “I believe everyone should have one.”
Responding to Growing Demand
Dr. Mears was brought on due to the practice helping more Roaring Fork Valley residents than ever before. In the three years since opening its doors, Aspen Valley Primary Care has grown from treating 2,000 patients to more than 5,000 patients from two locations — at the Hospital in Aspen and at Willits in Basalt.
“To accommodate this growth, we’ve increased our staff,” said Alyssa Franklin, PharmD, BCPS, Director of Aspen Valley Primary Care. “In addition to Dr. Mears, we’ve brought on Physician Assistant Rachel Houseal, MSPAS, PA-C, to facilitate faster access to care for acute or urgent visits. And Dr. Rahul Shah, our pediatrician, has been with us for a year now.”
Providing the Whole Person Health
In addition to adult primary care, Aspen Valley Primary Care offers extensive family and pediatric medicine services. The staff focuses on the comprehensive and interrelated aspects of physical and mental health as well as overall wellbeing. This approach is often referred to as whole person health.
Whole person health involves looking at the whole person, not just separate organs or body systems, and considering multiple factors that promote either health or disease. It means helping and empowering individuals to improve their health in biological, behavioral, social and environmental areas. Instead of focusing on a specific disease, whole person health focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience and preventing diseases across the lifespan.
“My goal is to make every patient I see healthier and better off for making an appointment with me. I strive to provide compassionate care for all adults across the medical spectrum.”
Since first opening its doors three years ago, Aspen Valley Primary Care has grown from treating 2,000 patients to more than 5,000 patients today.
“Our team focuses on health and wellness, disease management and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses,” Franklin said. “In addition to great care from experienced doctors, patients can get help making an appointment with a specialist, learn about beneficial dietary plans or talk to a professional about behavioral health challenges.”
The team understands that everyone who seeks care has a unique situation that requires personalized attention. And they share the belief that healthcare isn’t one size fits all.
“Our objective is to be an access point for patients,” Franklin said. “Navigating the healthcare world can be complicated, and our providers are fantastic partners when patients need support.”
Dr. Mears is one of those allies. Seeking medical care can be unsettling. So, she does everything she can to make patients feel open and relaxed during appointments.
“My goal is to make every patient I see healthier and better off for making an appointment with me,” Dr. Mears said. “I strive to provide compassionate care for all adults across the medical spectrum.”
Many patients are more comfortable seeking treatment from a male or female doctor. Having Dr. Mears on staff gives those who prefer a female physician an additional option for a primary care physician.
“I love seeing all types of patients,” she said. “But sometimes, women are more comfortable discussing emotional or physical concerns with another woman. This is particularly true when there is an organ-specific complaint such as a breast mass or pelvic lesion. But no matter who you choose to see, all the providers who work in our office provide top-notch care.”
Prevention is a Key Focus
Providing screenings for conditions such as skin cancer, diabetes and high cholesterol help residents take control of their health. Additionally, Aspen Valley Primary Care works closely with the Valley Health Alliance, Medicare and Medicaid to promote wellness.
“Many of our patients choose to live here so they can lead active outdoor lifestyles,” Franklin said. “We focus on prevention so we can detect any issues in the early stages before they become a bigger problem. Besides the obvious health benefits to patients, preventive care can help reduce the overall cost of healthcare for our community.”
Upcoming Enhancements to Your Healthcare Home
Aspen Valley Primary Care has come a long way in a short time. But there’s more to come. Over the next year, the staff intends to expand its office space and women’s health services. Plans are also underway to add a new telepsychiatry program to complement the current mental health offerings.
“Behavioral health can be hard to find in our area, and we want to make it easier and more affordable to get treatment,” Franklin said. “Our new service will include access to a psychiatrist or a therapist, and it will be covered by many insurances. We are very excited about expanding our offerings to better serve our community.”
We can get you started.
Contact Dr. Mears, DO, at 970.279.4111 to learn more.