Colombian by birth, Dr. Luisa F. Leal came to America 22 years ago. She earned a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration in 2007 and a Dual Master in Business Administration and Healthcare Management in 2009 from University of Phoenix before earning a Master in Nursing Practice in 2012 and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (NP) in 2014 from Vanderbilt School of Nursing while working and raising a family.
She worked for five years at United Neighborhood Health Services as the Diabetes Case Manager, where she was able to help the team make significant health improvements in the surrounding community. Patients were empowered to become active participants with their health, consequently lowering the clinics median A1C from above 12% to mid 8%.
During the last couple years working as a Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Leal told her husband that her new dream was to open her own clinic. Dr. Leal was doubtful because of her student loans, but did her homework through the Small Business Administration website anyway. Once she had completed the SBA’s recommendations for a business plan, Her CPA, Joe Hicks at the Wallace CPA Firm recommended Dr. Leal to contact Pathway Lending.
“I went to Pathway and presented a draft of my business plan. The representatives read my business proposal, understood the business purpose and how my organization could bring a positive impact to the community, and connected me with various lending options,” said Dr. Leal. Working with Pathway Lending, Dr. Leal was able to secure a microloan and a business line of credit. “The documentation process was fast. The process started on January 2016, by the end of March I signed the lease.”
In May 2016, Dr. Leal opened the doors of New Horizon Diabetes Clinic at 390 Harding Place. The clinic sits opposite to Southern Hills Hospital, in an area that has a high Spanish-speaking population which is one of the communities with the highest incidences of diabetes. This community is also known for not having access to a bilingual specialist in diabetes care. New Horizon Diabetes Clinic’s mission is to bring the latest in diabetes care from the endocrine perspective. Dr. Leal is excited to bring both former and new patients to a new type of diabetes care. Her goal is to improve current diabetic statistics in the clinic’s zip code and its surrounding areas.
In the process of making this dream a reality, the biggest hurdle Dr. Leal faced was credentialing. “The first six months for a practice are not profitable because you are waiting on the credentialing process from the insurance organizations. Also, it is the marketing period when doctors from around the area start to know the clinic and the services provided. I am blessed that many providers know about my passion for diabetes and my professional skills. My colleagues are welcoming the clinic with open arms, causing the business to be able to break even in just a few months after being open. All that I can say is that hard work pays off.”
Dr. Leal’s background and determination enabled her to bring expertise into a high need community. Her new outpatient office is aptly named New Horizon Diabetes Clinic. “It’s like going through a big dark storm and you come to a bright new sky. That’s what my office is for my patients. A new beginning.”