Doctors at St. Joseph’s Peoria North Clinic believe the opening of their neighborhood clinic will change the public’s attitude toward health and wellness by encouraging individuals and families to routinely visit a primary care facility.

For many, the only time they visit their primary care doctor is to treat a sickness, when they should be visiting a doctor once or twice a year for a routine checkup, said Dr. Emily Zaragosa, a family medical physician at St. Joe’s Peoria North Clinic.

But with St. Joseph’s name attached to the building, Zaragosa said she believes attitudes will change, and area residents will choose to visit the Arrowhead Ranch-area clinic since it’s in many residents’ backyard.

Donna Johnson, the clinic’s manager, said the facility is the first of two other planned West Valley neighborhood clinics St. Joe’s hopes to open within the next few years. Johnson said hospital officials are in the process of trying to secure other sites.

“There’s a demand in the West Valley, and St. Joe’s wants our presence felt out here,” she said.

On Saturday, doctors conducted an open house at the new St. Joseph’s Peoria North Clinic near 77th Avenue and Deer Valley Road to showcase what the facility offers and how regularly visiting a primary care physician can help ensure healthy minds and bodies.

In addition to tours of the 5,800-square-foot medical facility, the open house featured free flu shots, car seat checkups, blood pressure screenings, and fire and water safety prevention exercises. Children were treated to fire truck tours.

The clinic, which opened last month, houses 12 exam rooms where patients can be seen by two family medical doctors, two internal medicine doctors and a physician’s assistant, Johnson said, noting the airiness and modern feel of the clinic.

Johnson said St. Joseph’s Peoria North Clinic also houses a blood laboratory so patients can learn, for example, their cholesterol levels within one or two days, rather than waiting several more days for the blood work to return from another facility.

“We hope to offer a feeling of being comfortable,” she said. “Patients have said they don’t feel like they’re in a doctor’s office.”

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or

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