New Mexico Providers & Services

Medical Director

Richard Wachs, MD


Allergy and Immunology

Dr. Richard A. Wachs is a board-certified provider in Allergy, Immunology and Pediatrics, as well as a champion of patient education.

Before joining us at BreatheAmerica Albuquerque, Dr. Wachs was very involved in the asthma and allergy community in New Jersey, including serving as an Assistant Clinical Professor with the UMDNJ-SOM Department of Pediatrics, and founding Food Allergy Connections, South Jersey’s Food Allergy Support Organization. Earning recognition both locally and nationally for his outreach, Dr. Wachs was voted South Jersey Magazine’s Top Doc nine years in a row. It’s safe to say that we are very happy to have him bring his passion to Albuquerque this year.

Drawn to medicine since early High School, Dr. Wachs discovered his passion for working with asthma patients and their families during his military service, including starting an Asthma Education program for the Air Force, a novel program at the time. This drive for better education resources is part of his core motivation to give patients with a better understanding of their disease in order to improve overall health, treatment compliance, and happiness of the family.

Dr. Wachs received his MD from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed his residency in Pediatric Medicine at Keesler Air Force Base, as part of the 81st Medical Group. While serving as a commissioned officer in the Air Force, Dr. Wachs practiced as a pediatrician for 4 years at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL.

Followed by an allergy and immunology fellowship at Jefferson University Hospital and Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children, Dr. Wachs then turned his focus towards treating food allergies and developing strong community advocacy programs for families affected.

Dr. Wachs is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, and he’s looking forward to this upcoming season. His wife and three kids can also be found traveling the world (including Israel, Greece, Paris, and China) and exploring new cultures, bicycling the trails, and playing baseball, softball, and golf.

Otolaryngologist

Roland Gerencer, MD


Otolaryngology and ENT

Roland Gerencer, MD, is a physician at BreatheAmerica that brings with him highly specialized and extensive experience in the field and study of Rhinology. The core motivation behind his work is to improve the quality of life for every patient he treats.

Dr. Gerencer graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Medical Science in 1989, then went on to earn his medical degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada in 1993 and finished his Otolaryngology residency there, too, in 1998. His fellowship in Rhinology brought him to the United States, specifically to Rush Medical College in Chicago, from 1998 to 1999.

He remained in the US until 2003, serving as a physician for New Mexico ENT Associates in Albuquerque. He then earned his preceptorship in Rhinology/Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery at the University Ear, Nose, & Throat Hospital of Graz, Austria in 2004, then returned to the States to create the first sinus-dedicated ENT practice in Seattle later that year.

He then returned to Albuquerque for years of excellent, specialized work, ultimately finding himself in his current position as a physician at BreatheAmerica Albuquerque!

Dr. Gerencer’s international education and insatiable interest in all disorders of the nose and paranasal sinuses has greatly benefitted our operation here at BreatheAmerica. He is the only Fellowship-trained Rhinologist with experience in the state of New Mexico! He was also the first in New Mexico to use steroid-eluting implants following sinus surgery.

He says that he was drawn to this career path because of how fascinating Rhinology’s combination of medical and surgical treatments can be and how these two methods can be used either separately or together to provide real, satisfying results to a wide array of disorders.

His passion for producing these results has driven him to be a pioneer in the practices involved in doing just that. He introduced and pioneered the use of adjunctive office procedures like endoscopic debridements following sinus surgery to ensure long-term results in 1999, and he also pioneered minimally-invasive techniques for sinus surgery with the introduction of balloon sinuplasty to New Mexico in 2006.

When he’s not finding the next innovation in nose and paranasal sinus treatment, Dr. Gerencer loves international fly-fishing, mountaineering, photography, and classical music.

We at BreatheAmerica are beyond proud to offer his tremendous talent and thoughtful care to all of our patients.

Allergy & Immunology

Morgan DelVecchio, PA-C

Morgan comes to us from Louisiana, after completing her Master of Medical Science from Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN.  Morgan first became interested in medicine at a young age when as a Girl Scout, she learned the importance of helping others in her community.  After earning a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, receiving the University Medal, and graduating Summa Cum Laude, Morgan set out to continue her academic career to become a Physician Assistant, due to her own experiences interacting with a PA, as well as her family’s medical experiences.

Driven by her desire to care for people, her interest in science and medicine, as well as her own experiences with allergies—Morgan dedicated an entire rotation to allergy, asthma and immunology during her Physician Assistant clinical rotations. Morgan is dedicated to providing quality patient care, always placing the patient first, and being there when the patient needs her the most.  Morgan is committed to making sure that all aspects of the patient which includes physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychosocial health are addressed and attended to, and sees herself as the patient’s advocate and helping the patient understand and help manage their care.  With her previous asthma and allergy experience and focus on quality care, we are fortunate to have Morgan on the BreatheAmerica Albuquerque team!

When Morgan’s not at BreatheAmerica, you can probably find her spending time with her fiancée, and their furry pets.  Morgan also loves singing, music, hiking, canoeing, and sports.  During the college football seasons, Morgan is busy cheering on the LSU Tigers.

Emma Edgar, CNS

Having earned her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, Emma went on to obtain both her MA in Behavioral Neuroscience her Master’s of Science in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin.

She comes to BreatheAmerica with experience working as an RN in primary care and acute psychiatric care, and also in advanced practice clinicals in primary care, urology, and long-term care. She was drawn to this field of work because of her passion for engaging directly with patients and making sure they have excellent preventative care. Her core motivation is to keep her patients informed, so that they can be involved in their own at-home, around-the-clock care.

When she’s not working, you’re likely to find Emma rock climbing, hiking with her dog, camping, or volunteering at the local animal shelter!

We’re lucky to have Emma’s big heart and incredible work ethic on our team.

 

Joel Kent, PA

A graduate of La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, NM, Joel has returned home to begin his career in medicine after being away for ten years to complete his undergraduate and graduate studies.  Joel studied neurobiology, earning his BS from University of Texas, Austin and completed his MS in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University-Glendale.  After earning his undergraduate degree, Joel was deciding between a career in research or medicine, after his work in a nursing home, as a CNA, which he loved, Joel determined patient contact and medicine was the right direction.  Joel is able to balance his desire to help people with his fascination of the human physiological processes and disease pathology, as a Physician Assistant.

Upon his return to Albuquerque, Joel is enjoying spending time with his family and enjoying the great outdoors in our backyard. Joel enjoys camping, hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking.  Joel has previously volunteered providing medical care at a homeless shelter and is eager to explore new volunteer opportunities in Albuquerque.  As a recent graduate, Joel is eager to see what he is able to accomplish in his chosen field.  We at BreatheAmerica are also looking forward to seeing the trajectory of Joel’s career and are very fortunate to have him join our Provider Team.

Rebecca Rivera, PA

Hailing from the East Coast, Rebecca Rivera comes to us after a career already dedicated to serving the community around her. She started her nursing career when she earned her associate’s degree as a Certified Nurse Assistant alongside her high school diploma in 2006. She then went on to attend Hood College, MD with an academic scholarship, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology. For a few years following her college graduation, Rebecca worked with undocumented minors at a children’s shelter in Corpus Christi, TX.

Driven by her desire to care for people, as well as her own experiences struggling with allergies—which she hadn’t experienced before moving to Texas—Rebecca sought a career as a Physician Assistant. Because of this personal struggle with autoimmune dysfunction, she always empathizes with her patients. She knows for herself how crucial it is to follow a treatment plan if you want to see results!

When she’s not at BreatheAmerica, you can probably find Rebecca spending time with her son, exploring Albuquerque, and trying out New Mexico cuisine. She’s also likely to be found volunteering with the community—especially with the underserved population.

We’re so excited to have Rebecca on our team of care providers!

Otolaryngology /Ear, Nose, & Throat (ENT)

Megan Bloom, NP

Megan Bloom is an experienced Nurse Practitioner who recently joined the BreatheAmerica Albuquerque office with a background in primary care and clinical experience in pulmonology, sleep medicine, and cardiothoracic surgery.

Megan comes from a family that loves to help others, with her father and brother working as dentists, her mother as a kindergarten teacher, and younger sister who is a photographer. In order to see that people get the care they need, she has devoted herself to acquiring new skills and growing professionally in her career to help her patients improve their overall health beyond the clinic.

In addition to being a lifelong learner, Megan loves the outdoors, including snowboarding, hiking, rafting, traveling, and going to concerts. When you see her in the office, you’ll have to ask her where her latest adventure took her!

Megan received her Master of Science in Nursing from West Virginia University in 2013, following her BS in Nursing and BS in Human Nutrition and Foods from the same university. She is Chemotherapy Administration certified, and has a history working in collaboration with surgeons to provide care prior to and after open heart and thoracic surgeries.

Also a community volunteer, Megan previously dedicated her time at the local animal shelter and health fairs held while at her previous hospital position. We look forward to seeing how she improves her new community here in Albuquerque through her knowledge and passion for the healthcare field.

Services

Allergy Tests

Allergy Tests are used to confirm the presence of sensitivity to allergens (pollen, pets, mold, dust mites), foods, venoms, drugs, or chemicals.

Skin Tests:

  • Prick: For a prick test, we’ll use a small, concentrated amount of the potential allergen to put just under the top layer of the skin. The response to the allergen is immediate, and shows results within 15 minutes.
  • Intradermal: Similar to the prick test, intradermal skin tests inject 0.02 ml of a diluted form of the allergen’s extract under the top layer of skin. The response shows within 15 minutes of placement.
  • Patch: Patch tests apply allergens directly to the surface of the skin and are taped and left in place for 48 to 96 hours.

Blood Tests:

  • ImmunoCap: When we can’t perform a skin test, we’ll use an ImmunoCAP, which is a radioallergosorbent test. This test will detect levels of specific antibodies created by the body in response to an allergen.
  • Radioallergosorbent tests are the most common blood test done which detects levels of specific IGE antibodies when skin testing is unable to be performed.
  • IGE: An IGE test gives a generalized look at the amount of allergic antibodies produced by the body.

Oral Challenges

Oral challenges are performed in a controlled, monitored environment where small amounts of the suspected allergen are fed to the test subject, in increasing amounts over time until a reaction occurs. The purpose is to elicit the least reaction necessary to establish a diagnosis. The subject is then immediately treated.

Computerized Tomography (CT / CAT) Scan

A CT scan is a three-dimensional x-ray image of the anatomy known as a computerized tomography, which helps physicians to diagnose disease and plan treatment or surgery.

Why do we use CT scans?

We use the CT scan to see any infection or swelling within your sinus cavities. If you have a history of moderate to severe asthma that is unresponsive to medical management, then we will most likely use a CT scan to confirm this diagnosis.

We use a low-dose mini scanner. These scanners provide low radiation for our patients, excellent image quality, and complete in-office patient care.

Endoscopy

A nasal endoscopy is an examination of the nose using a nasal telescope. This instrument is very small, and is guided easily through the nostril to examine the nasal passages and sinuses. The nose is numbed during this procedure, and though a minimally invasive examination, the endoscopy is enough to provide detailed information for our ENTs.

Immunotherapy

We provide allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots to our patients with allergy symptoms that are so severe they don’t respond to traditional allergy medication. Immunotherapy works by providing repeated exposure to the allergen, which allows the body to build up a resistance to it over time.

The initial build-up phase involves a series of injections given on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis; the maintenance injections are given every 2-4 weeks. Improvements usually occur over a periods of three to six months.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

The no-shot allergy treatment, is a new form of allergy immunotherapy offered at BreatheAmerica. Also referred to as SLIT, Sublingual Immunotherapy gives you the ability to treat your allergies from the safety of you home! Learn more about treating your grass pollen and ragweed allergies at home, read our blog!

Infusion Therapy

With infusion therapy, fluids or medications are delivered to the body directly into a blood vessel or subcutaneous tissue. This is used for certain medications that cannot be given orally. We infuse a variety of medications primarily to treat infections and immunologic disorders. These medications can be delivered via intravenous infusion, subcutaneous infusion, and subcutaneous injection. We offer infusion therapy at our ambulatory infusion centers and BreatheAmerica clinics.

Pulmonary Function

Pulmonary function testing is performed to evaluate lung function. There are many different types of tests available, but most commonly we use spirometry to measure the amount of air a patient forcefully exhales into a mouthpiece connected to a computer. The computer compares this measurement to predicted values for the patient’s age, sex, and race. The spirometry is the gold standard for diagnosing obstructive lung diseases, like COPD.

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