Jenny LeDage greets Dr. Ricardo Reyes, who will be see patients in the Patagonia Clinic three days a week. Photo by Robert Gay

On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 7, the Patagonia community had a meet-and-greet opportunity to say hello to the new Mariposa Community Health Care physician, Dr. Ricardo Reyes.

Traditional stethoscope around his neck, Reyes circulated inside and outside the café, affably working the crowd like a handshaking politician. The difference is that Reyes was seeking to promote health, not garner votes. About half a dozen Mariposa staff were there also, including the medical director and assistant medical director.

Dr Reyes’ starting schedule with Mariposa will be three days in Patagonia and one in Nogales.

In conversation, Dr. Reyes explored the fit between him and the community. He grew up, until he was 15, on his dad’s ranch in Durango, Mexico. His childhood made him aware of the unique physical and health challenges the ranching community in this area faces, Having finished high school in the US on his path to med school, he’s got feet on “ambos lados,” and feels he can well serve the bicultural populations of the area. In considering ways to practice medicine, Dr. Reyes said he prefers the continuity of knowing patients over time, as the Mariposa Center allows, as opposed to the one-shot visits of an ER practice. A new potential health threat he’s interested in learning about is the toxicity of manganese, the current mine planning focus of South32.

The event was hosted by Mor-Q, the bakery and barbecue restaurant in Patagonia. Party favors included a hot-cold pack for localized self-care, and a squeezable plastic green brain for stress relief.