Even on his death bed, Gabriel Ogbonnaya’s father could not get one thought out of his head: “My son is going to be a doctor.”
These were among the last words Ogbonnaya’s father told his then-12-year-old son before he died, leaving his wife alone to raise six children.
Driven by his father’s words and disgust over the terrible hospital conditions he saw in Nigeria, Ogbonnaya at age 39 has fulfilled his father’s prophecy and his own dream of opening a practice in the United States. At 1 p.m. today, he will celebrate the opening of his new primary- and urgent-care facility in east Mesa.
Healing Touch Internal Medicine is south of Baseline and Ellsworth roads, with 5,043 square feet of space, complete with seven exam rooms, a $65,000 digital X-ray machine, a nursing station and a laboratory.
Right now, the building is only a primary-care facility. Over the next several months, the doctor will transform part of the building into an urgentcare center.
Ogbonnaya hopes to reach out to patients of all backgrounds. He has received help from Mesa’s Economic Development Office. He also is working closely with the Small Business Development Center at the Mesa Community College downtown campus to get his business off the ground and market his services to the Latino community.
Although Ogbonnaya already speaks English and the African languages of Igbo and Hausa, he is learning Spanish at Chandler-Gilbert Community College to help with his outreach.
His staff is diverse. Ogbonnaya said it includes an American Indian, a Puerto Rican and an African-American. Within a few months, he will bring two other African doctors on board: One from Ghana and another from Nigeria.
Ogbonnaya said the facility will provide a welcome change to the bland, white-washed walls of offices where anyone can easily peer into the exam room.
Ogbonnaya said he’s seen that patients suffer various inconveniences. Some have to take off two or three days from work to address all their health needs. And when they can’t pay for it, they sometimes receive substandard care.
Ogbonnaya is aiming for higher standards. At his facility, patients can get a checkup and or blood test on their lunch break, or they can make an appointment after work.
“The concept is to have a one-stop shop,” Ogbonnaya said.
What: Healing Touch grand opening will include free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, free body massage, health education, food and entertainment.
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: 2919 S. Ellsworth Road, Suite 124 (behind Walgreens)
Information: (480) 361-3636