Piñon Family Medicine and the Piñon Pine

Pinon pine trees are native to the southwestern US, and are prominently scattered across Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. This species produces cones that contain edible pine nuts, which have been used as a food source for many people groups over the centuries. Naturalist John Muir carefully observed the native American technique of piling the cones, and then covering with a layer of dry pine needles and brush. This layer was then ignited, and the resulting fire scorched the cones, forcing them to begin to crack open. The cones were then left in the sun to dry further, until the seeds could easily be removed, providing a nutritious protein-rich food.

The pinon pine has been shown to have additional benefits to its environment, as research has shown that these pine trees increase the nutrients in the soil in which they grow – benefiting the other plant life nearby. Also the pinon species are hardy, withstanding droughts in the high desert, strong sweeping winds and rain, as well as deep freezing winter temperatures.

Symbolically, the Pinon Pine was chosen to represent Pinon Family Medicine as it exemplifies growth, health, nutrition and outreach. These are traits we at Pinon Family Medicine strive to emulate. Practically, Dr. and Mrs. Spencer fell in love with the Pinon Pine on their first trip Arizona when they came to visit the Grand Canyon, more than 2 years prior to moving their medical practice to Arizona.

Our Focus

Family medicine as a specialty integrates a broad-spectrum approach to primary care with the consideration of health-impacting social determinants and community factors, while also serving as an advocate for the patient in an increasingly complex health care system. Unlike other narrowly focused specialties, family medicine includes the biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences, encompassing all ages, sexes, each organ system, and every disease entity.

The focus of a family physician is the whole person. They shepherd patients of all ages through the complex health system, and coordinate the care of their health. By building relationships with their patients over time, family physicians develop a comprehensive understanding of their patients’ health, and offer insightful, personal guidance and treatment.

In the increasingly fragmented world of health care, one thing remains constant: family physicians are dedicated to treating the whole person. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focusing on integrated care. Unlike other specialties that are limited to a particular organ or disease, family medicine integrates care for patients of all genders and every age, and advocates for the patient in a complex health care system. Due to this broad training, family physicians are able to deliver a range of acute, chronic, and preventive medical care services while providing patients with a patient-centered medical home.

Because of their extensive training, family physicians are the only specialists qualified to treat most ailments and provide comprehensive health care for people of all ages– from newborns to seniors. Like other medical specialists, family physicians complete a three-year residency program after graduating from medical school.

As part of their residency, they participate in integrated inpatient and outpatient learning and receive training in six major medical areas: pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, surgery, and community medicine. They also receive instruction in many other areas including geriatrics, emergency medicine, ophthalmology, radiology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, and urology.

In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, they also provide preventive care, including routine checkups, health-risk assessments, immunization and screening tests, and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Family physicians also manage chronic illness, often coordinating care provided by other subspecialists. From heart disease, stroke and hypertension, to diabetes, cancer, and asthma, family physicians provide ongoing, personal care for the nation’s most serious health problems.

Meet Our Doctors

bottom border

Dr. Spencer came initially from New Jersey where he was raised in a small suburban town close to New York. After a family move to Alabama, and then undergraduate education in Pensacola, FL, he traveled to Israel for medical education through a Columbia University based medical program in international health. He completed his clinical medical school years through Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, as well as at the University of Chicago. Residency took him back to Alabama where his parents still resided, and he completed a surgical internship in Birmingham. Following this he completed a Family Medicine residency in Mobile, AL and became board certified. His practice over the years has combined Emergency, Urgent Care, and primary medicine practices to fulfill his broad interests in medicine. As the founding member of Piñon Family Medicine, he has invested in the health interests of Chandler, AZ where he now resides.

Dr. Philemon Spencer


Robin Spencer, FNP-C was raised in a small town in Alabama and followed her career in nursing. She lived in the countryside outside Birmingham where she practiced in the cardiac ICU for over 10 years. After taking a hiatus for raising children at home, she returned to school and graduated with her master’s degree in nursing, specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. After graduation she became certified in family medicine and has joined her husband at Piñon Family Medicine in Chandler, AZ where they reside with their children. During her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors, and can often be found jogging along many of the canals in the Phoenix area, or visiting historic areas around the state. She loves participating in local 5K races and other city events. Additionally, she continues on the side to represent and supply popular all-natural skin care products from Lemongrass Spa.