SmithLena G. Ernst, Ph.D.

The Retreat is modeled after other successful facilities previously owned and operated by Lena Ernst, Ph.D. Over the years, Dr. Ernst found that even the best dementia care did not always care for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. As a private owner and the clinical director for Retreat Healthcare, Lena brings her extensive expertise and 30 years of experience in the field of aging, healthcare, and elder programs to the design and implementation of The Retreat. Over the years, Lena has worked with seniors as a licensed social worker, licensed nursing home administrator, and as an owner and operator of Alzheimer’s care facilities. She has provided education to other professionals in the area of family ecology, dementia care, gerontology and family & marriage issues as an invited instructor for Webster University’s graduate program in Gerontology , the University of New Mexico in the department of Individual, Family & Community Education and at numerous national and international seminars and conferences. Dr. Ernst wrote each care program utilized by The Retreat after years of research and hand-on experience with persons living with dementia. Lena has conducted and presented research in the area of coping and stress reduction which has been presented to the academic community both in the United States and abroad.

Robert Metz

Mr. Metz has over twenty years of experience in developing and operating companies in both the public and private sectors throughout the United States. These companies include New Mexico-based businesses in hospice and home healthcare. Having a passion for healthcare, Mr Metz set out to bring a new standard to compassionate and loving care to those seniors his companies served. By creating innovative new approaches through strong leadership and proven management principles Mr. Metz strives to better the lives of the elderly. He joined Dr. Lena Ernst in 2009 and together they began their work as a team dedicated to developing innovative care programs in facilities, home care, hospice programs and physician practices. In 2011, Mr. Metz was instrumental in developing a physician’s practice that became part of Retreat Healthcare to better serve the seniors within the Retreat Healthcare system. Mr. Metz continues to serve others by serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Business Development Officer for Retreat Healthcare.


David Peters, M.D.

Dr. Peters began his medical career at the University of Nebraska, but has been serving New Mexico families as a geriatric psychiatrist for the past 25 years. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has earned an additional board certification in Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Peters is sought after by families throughout the Southwest for his experience and sensitivity in working with persons with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well as other mental health needs associated with the elderly. Dr. Peters and the Retreat family had worked as partnered professionals for many years, but in 2011 Dr. Peters joined Retreat Healthcare to provide advanced consultation and psychiatric care management. Dr. Peters works in conjunction with residents’ primary physicians and Retreat Healthcare nursing teams to provide the best psychiatric medicine available for our residents. Dr. Peters has maintained an out-patient practice at Retreat Healthcare where he sees seniors over 65 or patients living with dementia. He has demonstrated over the years his sincere interest and support of families living with dementia and is a highly valued asset to the medical community.