“The bonus of being a medical doctor is that we have the privilege of being able to help others. No matter where I am in the world, my job is the same — to help people feel better.” –Dr. Luis Arencibia
Originally from Miami, Dr. Arencibia graduated from Spartan Health Sciences University, St. Lucia West Indies and completed his residency training at East Jefferson General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. He chose to pursue his medical practice in Louisiana. “My medical career officially began 45 days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans,” he says. “This invaluable experience led to my interest in helping disaster victims and becoming a member of the DMAT (federal disaster medical assistance team), Delta-1.” Dr. Arencibia is an intermittent federal employee with the National Disaster Medical System, a division of Homeland Security. His team is mobilized to provide acute medical care and to assist hospitals in the case of damaged infrastructure or overwhelming need.
Family medicine intrigued Dr. Arencibia because of the broad array of conditions treated by family physicians as well as the broad array of procedures family physicians can perform. On why he became a family doctor: “My route to becoming a doctor was not traditional,” Dr. Arencibia says. “A family friend introduced me to the medical field, while I was running my father’s construction company in Miami. First, I went through EMT training to become a paramedic. He liked the medical field so much that he applied to Physician Assistant's school. While waiting to enroll, he was offered an opportunity to study to be a medical doctor abroad. “I have always been interested in medicine and I truly love what I do.” He loves being able to be the medical home for his patients’ needs. He says, “I'm fortunate to take care of several generations of the same members of a family! I have one family where I care for four generations in the same family!”
As a board-certified family physician, Dr. Arencibia has served the greater New Orleans region for more than 15 years. “My primary goal is to establish an ongoing relationship with my patients with a focus on their integrated care,” he says. “Because as family doctors we see patients on a more consistent basis, we can help them manage their chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke and hypertension, diabetes, cancer and asthma. When a patient is referred to a sub-specialist, we can remain involved to help coordinate the patient’s overall wellness.” He strives to provide the same level of high-quality care no matter the social or financial spectrum of his patients. Dr. Arencibia says, “Every day is a balancing act. However, my patients are part of my family and for many I have become a part of their families as well. I try not to overdo any single one element that demands my time. One way I balance my personal and work schedule is limiting the amount of patients I have in my private practice so I can spend more time with them. I also have a nursing home practice which is part of a broader healthcare team where I help direct care.” When asked, who or what keeps you going on the hard days, he replied, “Well, first, I always start by saying I have good days and not so good days, but I never have any bad days! What I do is a privilege, and I cherish the opportunity for my patients to entrust their healthcare with me.”
Dr. Arencibia describes his volunteer work as “the chicken soup for my soul. Helping those in a crisis fulfills some of the altruistic values that a family physician learns in their training.” Dr. Arencibia has since worked with disaster victims in Puerto Rico and Houston, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. His experience with disaster victims led him to pursue his wound care certification in 2011.
Dr. Arencibia has been married to his wife, Olga Marie, and he has two children — a 13-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. He enjoys playing guitar and coaching his son’s baseball team.