In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new area medical practice has been born that couldn’t be timelier.
Dr. Norbert Adame, a 20-year Ahwatukee resident, launched HouseCallsMD that does just what its name says.
He makes house calls in Chandler and Ahwatukee.
Adame, who graduated from Boston University School of Medicine after serving in the U.S. Army in the latter years of the Vietnam War, completed his residency in emergency medicine at Maricopa Medical Center.
For the past six years, he has taught anatomy and physiology at Gateway Community College, then decided to start HouseCallsMD after determining the pandemic could have an debilitating effect on his community.
“I decided to start my business after realizing that there was going to be a healthcare crisis as more people were losing their jobs and medical insurance coverage,” he explained.
There is a need within our community to provide another venue to receive medical attention because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that lies ahead,” Adame added.
He said he was also concerned about the many seniors in Ahwatukee and Chandler and determined he could be of help to them.
“As a result of the pandemic, more people, especially the elderly, are confining themselves to their homes because they cannot take the risk of getting infected – whether visiting their primary physician, clinic or emergency room,” he said.
“While telemedicine and telephone calls have been a viable alternative to face-to-face time in an office, I feel that there is still a need to assess a person’s concern in person, and help them decide whether they need to seek further care before their condition worsens.”
Adame also said some health issues that might not require office visits can be addressed by utilizing HouseCallsMD, an independently-owned business not affiliated with national companies with similar names.
“There are those simple ailments that can be managed at home with the proper guidance,” he said.
“Furthermore, I’ve always believed that being a member of the community means contributing in some small way that enhances the well-being of everyone.”
Targeting Ahwatukee and Chandler, he said, “I’m not a company where profit drives the motivation” but rather one individual “taking small steps to hopefully make a large impact in a void created by the pandemic.”
Becoming a medical doctor involved determination, years of intense study and hard work and, for Adame, a bit of serendipity as he’d entered college planning to become a teacher.
He was born Norberto Adame, Jr. in Kingsville, Texas, a city located in the historic Wild Horse Desert and named for Richard King, founder of the largest ranch in the country.
“My family came from humble beginnings,” Adame recalled, noting that his maternal grandfather and great uncle lived and worked on the King Ranch.
“My mother’s family were migrant workers who would pack the family in the car and drive to California to pick fruits and vegetables,” he said. “My father came from a farming family in northern Texas, and when he got out of the Army, he became a carpenter and house builder.”
Adame spent many summers as a youth in Kingsville with his grandparents. “They instilled in me the work ethic and compassion that quilted the fabric for who I am,” he said.
While enrolling at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, then known as Texas A&I University, his plans for his future took a turn because education classes he sought were unavailable.
“I went in to register and the teaching classes were full, so they steered me toward science and biology, and I said, ‘okay, I’ll do that,” he remembered. “As I started down that route, I began hanging out with the wrong crowd – people in pre-med, dentistry and such – and found myself leaning toward science and medicine.”
He was one of four from his college graduating class accepted by medical schools.
Having served with the U.S. Army from 1973-1976, Adame was a bit older than others enrolled in his medical school class.
“I was probably a little more mature than my fellow classmates, but I think it was more difficult for me having to compete with students from the Northeast who’d gone to Ivy League schools,” said Adame, who graduated in 1989.
“It was a challenge, but I did great. I was in the top quarter of my class.”
After completing his residency in Boston, Adame joined the faculty at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, serving as medical director and division chief for its emergency department.
He and his wife moved back to Arizona, where he served as a University of Arizona School of Medicine clinical faculty member while working and teaching at Maricopa Medical Center and in the private sector.
His students’ reviews at Gateway Community College repeatedly refer to him as “passionate” – which he calls an apt description.
“The accolades I’ve received for my clinical teaching are reflective of my desire to educate and help produce quality physicians. I believe teaching at any level helps a physician foster better relationships with his or her patients,” he said.
Adame hopes to continue in the classroom “because students find that a clinical correlation to the material they are learning gives it more meaning and it’s not just the routine of memorizing ‘stuff’ to pass an exam.”
And he sees himself as part of “a continuum from learning medicine to practicing medicine to teaching and now returning to the practice of medicine.”
As he launches his new business, he was asked to describe his bedside manner.
“In two words – compassion and empathy,” he said. “Without going into details, I’ve had first-hand experience in being a patient so I know how an apathetic expression can cause distress, and how a compassionate touch of the shoulder can provide comfort to the pain and fear.”
At 65, Adame is a big believer in remaining physically active.
“I started running 5Ks and half marathons at the age of 50 because I wanted to follow the same advice I was giving my patients,” he said. “And I ran my first marathon at the age of 60.”
He’s also written a fiction eBook, “The Exit From My Dreams,” available on Amazon.
Information: housecallsmd-ahwatukee.com, Doctor visits are $135, and payable in cash, by credit card or PayPal. Dr. Adame said he doesn’t accept Medicare or insurance plans at this time.