BELEN—Two Valencia County natives are determined to serve their community’s health care needs with their new clinic — Valencia Health and Wellness in Belen. 

Cassandra Otero and Jennifer Trujillo, both licensed physician assistants, took their love of community and their passion for health care and opened their new office at 101 N. Sixth St. in Belen last month. The goal, they say, is to provide quality care and give back to their community.

Valencia Health and Wellness offers family health care services with a focus on wellness and prevention. Otero and Trujillo can diagnose, treat and offer a variety of services including well checks, quick care visits, CDL physicals, weight loss, dermatology, women’s health, immunizations and chronic disease management.

The new clinic also offers acupuncture with Jeanette Duffy (Ross), DOM, as well as physical therapy with Jon Otero, DPT.

After working together for a number of years at the Los Lunas Family Practice, Trujillo and Otero realized they wanted to do more than just treat patients.

“We’ve always done family practice,” Trujillo said. “I’m from Belen and Cassie is from Tomé. The two of us just clicked because we have the same passion for community and we felt like we did everything right along the way — we went away to school, we got our education and we both felt a strong sense of community and returned to serve.”

“We are a clinic of providers from Valencia County who are grateful for all that Valencia County has done for us,” Otero said. “We were raised in this community and want to give back and serve the community we love.”

Trujillo said they both have a specific philosophy when it comes to health care — they treat their patients like they’re family.

“We’re not about numbers,” she said. “We like to spend a lot of time with our patients, and we both really love preventative medicine.”

The two say they understand the people of the community, its needs and wants, and are prepared to treat those who have been under served in the past. Trujillo says while the two have always worked for other people, they thought it was time to open their own clinic, knowing they could do it a little different and better.

Treating those ranging in age from 1 to the elderly, the duo is able to treat anything from the common cold and well visits to women’s health and diabetes care and more.

“Diabetes is one of my favorite things to treat,” Trujillo said. “I find that most people who have diabetes don’t understand the disease well enough to know that No. 1 it isn’t their fault — they probably have a genetic predisposition.

“We try and remove that guilt, and treat it like it really is,” she said. “We can stop the progression, but the patient needs to understand the basics of it.”

A lot of the care Otero and Trujillo offer patients is education about their disease or condition. They help them to move forward and progress.

“We have been so encouraged by the community and so welcomed,” Otero said. “We were humbled by all the people who came to our ribbon cutting to show their support. We are forever grateful for the flowers, cards, and blessings. It helps us to know that the community is rooting for us.”

Valencia Health and Wellness is currently taking United Healthcare insurance as well as Medicare, True Health New Mexico and New Mexico Health Connections. They are waiting to get approved to accept patients with Medicaid, Presbyterian, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Molina Healthcare and Aetna.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. For information about Valencia Health and Wellness, call 317-7773 or visit


Clara Garcia is a native of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. She is the president of the New Mexico Newspaper Association, and is a member of the Pilot Club of Belen.

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