James Lehman, N.P.

James Lehman, N.P., owns Thrive Primary Care in Woodland Park.

The name says it all. The new primary care health clinic in Woodland Park, Thrive, is designed to help nurture and foster healthy lifestyles. Founded by nurse practitioner James Lehman, Thrive goes one up on the idea of health care.

“I think Western medicine has done a great job as far as expanding our lifespan, but I think it missed the mark in that it tends to be pharmaceutical-driven,” Lehman said.

Lehman refers to his services as a first step to achieving overall health. “We’re the ring leader to overseeing your care,” he said.

Lehman emphasized that nurse practitioners are not specialists. “If you have a cardiac issue, for instance, we’ll refer you to a specialist,” he said. “But we have to make sure these specialists are communicating.”

But Lehman watches for target signs of illness. “We want to catch things early and try to make interventions so we don’t have disasters, long-term,” he said.

In a time when insurance companies mandate short visits to physicians, Lehman touts his credentials as a doorway into longer visits. “’Thrive’ to me means getting you up to speed, that your nutritional requirements are met, you’re active in the community and have a good social system,” he said. “Also, metabolically, that everything is sound so you can live a long and happy life.”

Among Lehman’s clients are those with diabetes. “We can potentially get people off pharmaceuticals get people who are diabetic under better control and avoid some of the effects such as peripheral neuropathy and infections,” he said. “We can teach them about good eating habits rather than being on a strict regimented diet that most people can’t maintain.”

However, for those who falter on a diet, Lehman suggests a path forward. “You can ‘eat your cake’ occasionally, but then learn how to regroup and get back on track,” he said.

At the clinic, Lehman offers consultations with a personal trainer, Nicholas Miller. “It’s more about oversight over what the person can do on their own, whether it’s strength or aerobic training — it all depends on the individual,” Lehman said. “I think we need to do a better job, as providers, to give people the tools to care for themselves.”

In addition to Miller, Lehman’s staff includes Billie Ellis, office manager, and Marguerite Leonard, patient coordinator and scheduler. “That’s the hometown feel I want for Woodland Park,” Lehman said. “We’re a tight-knit group ... .”

Thrive, which accepts insurance policies with the exception of Kaiser, is at 509 S. Scott Ave., in Woodland Park. For information, call 373-8064.

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