Weekly Business Profile
Albuquerque Integrative Medicine, LLC
Type of business:
4848 Tramway Ridge Drive NE, #222
Albuquerque NM 87111
How did you get started in this business?
A relative in New York had terminal cancer and refused to use medical cannabis because it was illegal there. She ended up suffering unnecessarily. Knowing that we were moving to New Mexico, where it was legal, my wife and I decided that we would devote our medical practice to helping others avoid the same fate.
What is your business philosophy?
We believe that the treatment of medical conditions and illnesses should not be limited to conventional approaches, that no patient should suffer because of the inadequacy or side effects of standard prescribed medications and that cannabis possesses numerous therapeutic properties that make it a valuable addition to a patient's treatment plan.
What is your educational background?
I received a BS from the State University of New York at Albany, an MS from Duke University and an MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. I then completed a residency in anesthesiology at Maimonides Medical Center.
What are your strongest business traits?
A dedication to our patients, and to doing things the right way rather than the expedient way.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
The gratification of knowing that we are doing something that makes a positive difference in the lives of people who need our services.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
This is the first time we have owned our own practice, and the independence is great. We didn’t expect it to be as demanding as it turned out to be.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
The positive response to our efforts to educate and collaborate with colleagues in the medical community toward the advancement of cannabis as a medicine.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
Our practice is devoted solely to the evaluation of patients wishing to enter the medical cannabis program. We are accepted by the Department of Health as specialists in pain management. I am a member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and practice in accordance with its professional standards.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
By working closely with the Department of Health, attending the meetings of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, and scientific meetings such as the recent National Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
Getting the word out to potential customers throughout the state.
What was your best business decision?
Reaching out to family practitioners and other medical practitioners working in the state of New Mexico. This has allowed us to build a referral base from those practitioners who are looking for a pain management specialist to evaluate their patients’ chronic pain.
What are your growth goals?
We are planning on opening a new office this September which will enable us to better accommodate our increasing patient population and provide them with a more comfortable environment during their visit. We are also hoping to see a greater number of patients with conditions other than chronic pain who wish to enter the medical cannabis program.
What is your company's greatest challenge?
To educate the public about the benefits of medical cannabis, and to dispel the notion that it’s just a recreational drug for people who want to get high.
How has the Internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
It has provided a medium for us to educate about our practice and about the medical, legal, historical and practical aspects of cannabis use. As more and more people gain access, it helps to grow our patient population.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Initial contacts and telephone consultations with our patients require much more time than traditional medical practices devote to making appointments.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Be as knowledgeable about the field as possible and be prepared to obtain sufficient start-up funding to enable a ready cash flow.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
“All that is gold does not glitter Not all those who wander are lost The old that is strong does not wither Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” –J.R.R Tolkien
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
Patients need improved access to the health care system.
What inspires you?
Relieving the pain of others.
Three passions outside of work?
My wife. My grandchildren. Duke Basketball.
Where do you see your field five years from now
I believe that there will be increased acceptance of cannabis as a medicine by government and the general populace. There will be an increase in the indications for its use and the number of qualifying conditions accepted by the department of health for treatment with cannabis. There will be new formulations of cannabis which will allow patients to medicate without the high, as well as pill forms which will provide reliable standard doses of the therapeutic components.
Anything else you would like to add?
The people of New Mexico are fortunate to have access to a medicine such as cannabis, which is both safe and effective. Much has changed since the 1970's and it is time that people in government accept the fact that it is not a dangerous drug with no medicinal value.
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