Upham's Corner Online

Uphams Corner Health Center Lauds Employee Roberto Beltran


Community Voices Initiative Series
Uphams Corner Health Center

Roksana Pirog, Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Uphams Corner Health Center, represents the health center and the community in lauding the work of one of their employees, Roberto Beltran.

Roberto Beltran"The Health Center was pleased that one of their model, hardworking employees, Roberto Beltran, was interviewed, especially about his work with the geriatric populations of Dorchester and profiled by the Federal Government’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS).  The Health Center thanks him for his dedication to his health care role and his excellent relationship with his patients.  Thank you, Roberto. "

Roksana asked that Uphams Corner News let everyone know about Mr. Beltran’s work - perfect for our Community Voices Initiative. 


About Roberto Beltran

Roberto is a member of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), a program managed by HHS.  The NHSC is a group of dedicated health service professionals who have agreed to serve patients with limited access to health care while also getting access to educational, training and networking opportunities.  Ostensibly, the biggest benefit is the opportunity to pay off all students loans with continued service.  Quite often, the biggest benefit is the sense of having contributed to improve the lives of others.

Roberto says his approach is always to treat the whole person and not just his or her medical needs. "In urgent care, I see poverty and all the challenges that people have—it’s tough. Getting to know patients and what their life is like allows you to treat them better. … He adds that he also benefits from the relationship with his geriatric patients. "It’s like having 40 or more grandparents! Having them all sharing their lives and experiences brings insight into my own life, and I can learn from them."

As you will read in this profile of Roberto,  he has enjoyed his service with the Uphams Corner Health Center so much that he plans to continue working with them when his formal commitment ends.

To read the original article and to learn more about the NHSC, click here. 



Full Excerpt from Health & Human Services Website

You may already know Roberto Beltran, at least by sight—he is one of the Corps’ members featured on the NHSC Facebook page and in marketing materials. Born in Peru, Roberto’s journey to primary care began at an early age when he used some of his grandfather’s hypodermic needles to water plants through intra-stem injections. He left Peru with his family at age 11, during the height of terrorist activity in that country. They settled in Massachusetts, originally living with his aunt before moving to Belmont, a small and relatively affluent residential suburb west of Boston.

"Being an immigrant, it was difficult to assimilate," says Roberto, recalling challenges he faced growing up. "I was different from other kids, had to overcome cultural differences, and was in ESL (English as a Second Language) for three years."

It was those experiences, his parents’ example of helping newly-arrived immigrant families become established and the influence of his relationship with his primary care nurse practitioner that led to Roberto’s interest in working in primary care. He studied biology with pre-med at Boston University and earned his master’s in nursing with a concentration in family medicine from Regis College. It was while working as an EMT that Roberto decided that becoming a Nurse Practitioner would give him the hands-on interaction with patients he was looking for, as well as flexibility for different types of work in health care.

He worked for two years at Upham’s Corner Health Center before hearing about the NHSC through a colleague. He joined the Corps in 2008 and received his most recent NHSC loan repayment award in 2011.

Roberto completed his four years of service in July 2012, but he plans on remaining at his site. "The great thing about the LRP is that it helps you through the first tough years of getting established working while trying to pay off loans," says Roberto. "It’s challenging to work in this setting, but I’m comfortable where I am and plan to stay here."

Upham’s clinic in urban Dorchester serves a diverse population and on any given day, Roberto finds himself switching between Spanish, English, and the Portuguese-based Creole he’s learning from the Cape Verde immigrants who make up one-third of the clinic’s patients. Some of his time is spent seeing walk-in patients in the urgent care department, and Roberto is proud of his work to improve work flow systems to enable patients being seen quicker. "We would like to maximize the capability for walk-in care and want people to come to their community health centers and not the ER."

But, most of Roberto’s time is spent in geriatric care, which includes home visits for some patients. As clinical coordinator for the geriatrics program, Roberto oversees a staff of six and works with the clinic’s primary care providers to deliver interdisciplinary and integrated care to patients.

Roberto says his approach is always to treat the whole person and not just his or her medical needs. "In urgent care, I see poverty and all the challenges that people have—it’s tough. Getting to know patients and what their life is like allows you to treat them better. For our older patients, allowing enough time with them and getting to know what is going on in their lives is critical in understanding where their medical needs fit in. I want to help them, not just write the script." He adds that he also benefits from the relationship with his geriatric patients. "It’s like having 40 or more grandparents! Having them all sharing their lives and experiences brings insight into my own life, and I can learn from them."

Roberto says working at Upham’s has increased both his understanding of people and appreciation for the opportunities he’s been given. "This community has challenges, is poor, and underserved. It’s humbling that with what you have, you can help others live better lives. Working here long enough, I can see the difference in patients and know that I’ve made a contribution."

Posted: November 14, 2012     Nancy J Conrad


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