Dr. Encarnacion began working in the medical field in 1984 as an Emergency Room physician in Smithtown, NY. Her affinity for addiction medicine began during these early years as a consultant physician for a substance abuse clinic in Suffolk County, NY. After moving to Virginia with her family in 1991 she worked with many populations from her own private practice as a family physician; Medical Director of a nursing home; and as Staff Physician at the Student Health Center at the University of Virginia Tech. Dr Maria has been Medical Director of the Life Center of Galax, a residential chemical dependency treatment facility in Southwest Virginia, since 1993. She has shared her knowledge and experiences with her staff, her patients and with communities in an effort to broaden education about the disease of addiction. She is also Board Certified in Acupuncture Medicine.