Meet our Docs: April Rosalez, D.O., is your doctor, your massage therapist and your chiropractor
By Kristy Bleizeffer Oct 13, 2015
April Rosalez’s, D.O., interest in medicine stemmed from her sister’s Lyme disease. Dr. Rosalez was in high school at the time, and she witnessed both the naturopathic and the medical doctor approaches to disease management.
When it came time to choose her own path in medical school, Rosalez wanted something that combined the two approaches. “I wanted something in the middle. I picked osteopathy because it seemed to incorporate the whole-patient approach along with traditional medicine.”
Dr. Rosalez is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. In this interview, she explains her approach to medicine and the joys of providing primary care to her community.
Explain the difference between a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a medical doctor.
The D.O. emphasis is on treating the whole patient, not just focusing on the symptoms. I know that is kind of a cliché, but that is really one of the main focuses of the D.O. As part of our skillset, we can use our hands to heal as well, such as soft tissue massage and bone manipulation for lower back pain and to realign the legs and hips. I always tell people to think of it as I’m your doctor but I’m also your chiropractor your massage therapist and your kinesiologist. That’s the only way I can think to put it, because it’s a little bit of everything to get the bones to move.
Why did you want to go into family medicine?
I’m a people person. To be honest, I wanted to be a surgeon until probably 5 years ago. But I realized that I like my patients awake and I like all ages. I couldn’t pick one group over the other, so I chose family medicine. It’s always changing. We are always adapting, and we get to treat literally newborns to people 100 years old. That’s just fun.
You come to Mesa from the University of Wyoming Family Residency Program. Tell us about that and why you decided to stay in Casper.
I actually started as a medical student at Wyoming Medical Center for two years. My school, DeMoines University, had a contract with the hospital at that time, and I did my third-year core rotations out here. I got to go around and meet all the attendings and people in the community. When I asked my colleagues in other places how their rotations were going, it seemed like I was getting the best of the best. First, I was always one-on-one with my attending, which was incredible. And second, they cared about my education.
In residency, it was an easy choice to stay in Casper, even though I looked around. There just wasn’t a comparison. The people at Wyoming Family Practice and the community attendings, they care, they are excellent teachers and they are the kind of doctors I wanted to have mentorship with.
What made you accept a position at Mesa Primary Care.
My husband and I, we keep saying maybe we’ll stay in Casper just three more years. Four more years. We love Casper. When we moved out here, we actually moved out here because we saw a picture of someone fly fishing on the internet. We’ve had a great adventure since we got here.
My husband loves his job here, and I love seeing that because he’s basically worked and helped me through medical school the whole time. Now that he finally has a place he loves, that is just a bonus. I know everyone in the community in the medical field and have made quite a few friendships. Casper is just a great town.
How important is it for a family physician to love their community?
I think you have to. You are your patients’ doctor but you are also their support system. Throw a little bit of social work in there as well. As a resident, I already knew a lot of the resources that were available to my patients. That’s one of the nice things the residency makes you do: travel around Casper to see what resources are out there for patients who need them. I know who to call for them.
Dr. April Rosalez is board certified in family medicine, and specializes in pediatrics. She sees patients of all ages at Mesa Primary Care.
Dr. Rosalez grew up in Shelby, Mich., and became interested in medicine when her sister contracted Lyme disease and was very sick for several years.
“Between the naturopathic and the medical doctor approach, she is doing great today. When it was time to go to medical school, I wanted to pick something that incorporated both approaches. I picked osteopathy because it seemed to consider the whole patient along with the medical training,” she said.
A D.O., or a doctor of osteopathic medicine, is a fully-licensed physician who focuses on whole-body wellness and lifestyle education rather than focusing on particular set of symptoms. Along with managing disease with traditional medicine, they teach prevention, believe that all systems of the body work together and use a hands-on approach to treating patients.
“We use our hands for healing,” she said. “I always tell people to think of me as your doctor, but I’m also your chiropractor, your massage therapist and your kinesiologist as well.”
Dr. Rosalez trained at Wyoming Medical Center for two years and completed her residency at the University of Wyoming Family Medicine Residency in Casper.
“To be in family medicine, you have to love your community. You are your patients’ doctor, but you’re also their support system and sometimes there is a little bit of social work thrown in there as well,” she said. “I like when I run into one of my patients in the grocery store, because it makes Casper feel like a small community and that I was able to help someone.”