The Social & Health Research Center is committed to improving the social and health wellbeing of populations      at-risk.


The Social and Health Research Center expects to improve health behaviors with innovative and evidence-based health programs to control chronic disease such as obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes and to design better instruments to evaluate program effectiveness. 


The Social and Health Research Center (SAHRC) was founded and established by Dr. Roberto Treviño, a physician, in 1991. SAHRC was incorporated as a non-profit organization with 501 (c) (3) status in 1995. The center is committed to the social and health well-being of populations at-risk. The goals of SAHRC are to detect and reduce obesity and its associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The objective is to develop and implement health programs to prevent and manage obesity and associated chronic diseases; and design evaluation tools to assess program effectiveness.

Chronic disease states originate from inherent (genetic) or developmental (environmental) processes. The SAHRC approach is to study developmental processes that contribute to the cause of disease in poor and underserved populations. SAHRC considers gaps in parenting, schooling, work opportunities, neighborhoods, mass media, corporate conduct, and government policy as environmental factors programming disease early in life. Thus SAHRC offers health programming aimed at these socio-environments and evaluation of program implementation to promote health and prevent disease in high-risk populations.

The SAHRC operates the Bienestar pre-kindergarten to 8th grade coordinated school health program for children and the Bienestar Healthy Lifestyle program for adults. The Bienestar school health program is culturally appropriate for high risk children. The program's coordinated curriculums are designed for health class, physical education, school food service and parents. Large studies published in scientific journals have shown that the health programs have decreased blood glucose and insulin levels; decreased obesity rates and dietary fat intake; and increased dietary fiber intake and fitness levels in children. The Bienestar has been adopted as an official health curriculum by the Texas Education Agency and has been recognized as Proven Effective by the National Cancer Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Healthy Communities Institute. 

The SAHRC also implements the BieneStar Healthy Lifestyle Adult program.  This program is based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) intensive behavioral therapy for obesity (BTO).  The Bienestar program follows the programming schedule set by CMS: an introductory/get to know you session with one of our certified lifestyle coaches,16 sessions every week the first four months; 2 a month for the next five months; and 1 a month for the next 3 months (30 sessions a year). Participants then also have the option of quarterly maintenance sessions during their second year. The material is bilingual and the sessions teach participants skills and behaviors related to physical activity and nutrition; the relationship between health behaviors and chronic disease; and knowledge about the health consequences of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  A study in the America Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that clients in the BieneStar decrease 0.104 kg of weight per session attended.  The BieneStar is now recognized by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control as a Proven diabetes and obesity prevention program. 

Tools to evaluate health program effectiveness are just as important as the health program itself. Objective measures exist to measure fitness, body fat, and biomarkers of chronic disease control. A gap exists, however, in tools to measure quality and quantity of food consumption. SAHRC investigators have published studies showing the inaccuracy of existing tools to measure dietary intake. It is important to improve dietary intake assessment because obesity and its co-morbidities are considered to be the most prevalent nutritional disease in the United States. To improve the accuracy of tools to measure dietary intake, SAHRC investigators were awarded a United States Department of Agriculture grant to develop a technology to assess dietary intake. The technology to improve accuracy, time, and cost of collecting dietary information is the Digital Food Imaging Analysis (U.S. Patent No. 9,424,495). This innovative health care technology uses smart phones, cameras and software to analyze the dietary intake of children in schools and of patients in primary care clinics.

Success of program results and designing innovative tools to assess health program effectiveness depends on SAHRC's multidisciplinary team; their hard work; their creativity, and ability to support networks in the community that transmit and sustain the implementation of effective health programs.


Meet The Team

Dr. Roberto P. Treviño
executive director

Roberto P. Treviño, M.D. founded the South Alamo Medical Group in 1986 for the practice of primary care medicine in poor and underserved areas. The medical practice has grown to 6 clinics and 21 primary care providers. Dissatisfied with medical outcomes, however, he founded the Social and Health Research Center (SHRC) in 1995 to design and evaluate early age obesity and type 2 diabetes school health prevention programs.


Dr. Treviño is the principal investigator of the two largest trials funded by the National Institutes of Health to prevent obesity and diabetes in children. Although these health programs have been shown to decrease blood glucose and obesity rates in children, Trevino presents in his new book — Forgotten Children — 10 years of evidence showing that politicians influenced by special interest groups applied policies to deny at-risk children these programs. Why? “Diabetes is a $174 billion-a-year industry,” Trevino says.


Dr. Treviño grew up in San Antonio’s Victoria Courts housing project in the 1960s at a time when most of San Antonio was to the Northside suburbs. One day his father announced that the family was moving out of the projects. “We were excited, believing that we, too, were moving out to the suburbs,” Dr. Treviño says. “He got us in a truck and drove across the street from Victoria courts to our new house on Lavaca St. Across the street was as far as we ever moved away from the projects. My mom and dad still live in that house.”

Bonnie grew up in San Antonio before moving to Massachusetts to attend Mount Holyoke College. She studied biology and chemistry, was captain of the Western Equestrian Team, and played Viola in the Orchestra. After graduating, she was a Research Affiliate at Roswell Park Cancer Institute studying prostate Cancer before moving back to San Antonio and the Texas warmth.


Bonnie graduated with her Master's Degree in Public Health from George Washington University and began her Public Health career with the Social & Health Research Center.


Her passions include advocating for preventative medicine, cooking, traveling, and all things mammal. 

Ivan Beltrani has been in the health and wellness industry for over 6 years. He started out his journey as an obese individual weighing over 300 pounds at the age of 22. This led to a spiral into depression that led into alcoholism and drugs. At his lowest point, Ivan was given an opportunity to be led into a complete lifestyle change. He learned about nutrition and physical activity which aided him in his life struggles. By staying on track and dedicated and with the help of his support system, Ivan completely turned his life around. He lost weight and learned how to make healthy lifestyle decisions. He then turned into a lifestyle coach that helped others that were struggling and eventually worked his way up to Program Coordinator at the Social and Health Research Center. He has served hundreds of people in San Antonio as well as Pearsall, Texas. His passion for the health and wellbeing for the community has transcended through different forms, whether it be his Diabetes Prevention classes or his group exercise classes. Ivan is always ready to help. His passion is Zumba and he is one of the most followed instructors in the city. His motto is to keep things simple and just keep moving.

Bonnie Berkley
deputy director

Ivan Beltrani
Program Coordinator

Meet The Board of Directors

Diana headshot 2021.jpeg

Diana Sanchez, Chairman

Diane is a proven c-suite executive with extensive senior management experience as an entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and social entrepreneur. Her experience in developing strategic partnerships, P&L, change management, transformation, acquisitions, and market entry leading corporations who have been recognized as market leaders in transformational technology and innovation have helped drive a successful career.


Distinguished for her consensus building, she is instrumental in working with the public/private sector and taught leaders in the Americas, Europe, and Asia to formulate strategic alliances and collaborative business strategies. Diane has been recognized for her leadership in directly contributing to successful market entry and rapid market growth for strategic corporate subsidiaries, mitigating risk, and the value creation of growth-stage and mid-cap companies. She has directed business in over twenty countries in the Americas Region and Europe with pan-regional experience in business development, sales, operations, and P&L spanning a full range of public, private, and not-for-profit companies.


She has also played several key leadership roles in transforming Information, Communication, and Telecommunications (ICT) infrastructure in the Americas Region and has held senior leadership positions in some of the world's leading global technology companies to include: President and CEO, Telefonica USA; President and CEO, Global Crossing Latin America; President, Terremark; President, Global Operations, Mozido; SVP Sales and Operations - Caribbean and Latin America, and  Regional Vice President, Alcatel Lucent.


Diane continues to participate in the expansion and investment in infrastructure, working directly with Private Equity Firms and financial institutions operating in advisory and independent director roles. Active in the community, her activities center on education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and the disenfranchised. Diane also serves on the board of directors of several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and has an extensive background in board governance.  Advocating for the disenfranchised and aligning her leadership and business skills to serve the community, she serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Director for Micro: SA, a social enterprise impact-driven organization promoting economic prosperity through the resurgence of the micro business in disadvantaged communities.

Elizabeth (Lissa) Alanis, Treasurer

Elizabeth Alanis, Lissa, is the program director of the South Texas Early Prevention Studies "STEPS'.  She works for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, UTRGV. She is an advocate of community health by helping with the implementation of school health programs.


Elizabeth believes that our children today are more exposed to overeat fast food and unhealthy snacks and are less physically active because of video/computer gaming, resulting in childhood obesity. School health programs can make a difference in students' health and academic performance. She has seen results firsthand on how school health program implementation can make a great impact not only on students but also on their families.


For the past four years, Elizabeth has successfully completed directing two STEPS projects with UTRGV and has assisted in the application to secure a $2.4mil. dollars grant that will start October 2021, a four-year project.


Elizabeth holds a master's in Spanish linguistics with a concentration in medical terminology and a bachelor's in health education and promotion from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, formerly named University of Texas Pan American, Edinburg, TX.

Dr. Nora Garza

Nora was born in Brownsville, Texas, to parents that believed in education and healthy living. She is a first-generation American on her mother's side and has Mexican citizenship because of her ancestry. Nora was raised in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley, graduated from the University of Texas Medical school in Houston, and completed the Baylor College of Medicine family practice residency program. She eventually returned to the Valley as medical director of one of the largest community health centers in the state.  


After serving nine years as medical director in the Valley, Nora moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she has been working as a primary care physician for over twenty-two years. She was elected to the Bexar County Board of Directors and served for three years as chairperson of the Medical Ethics committee. Her career has been focused on preventive medicine and healthy lifestyle changes. She is committed to moving the community of San Antonio toward healthier living with a strong emphasis on health prevention and an increase in access to health care. Dr. Nora Garza has two offices in San Antonio and office hours expanded to late nights to allow working children to bring in their elderly parents to the doctor without missing work. Nora believes that with the research and education from The Social and Health Research Center, our community's nutritional education will improve, and more people will make healthy food choices that will improve the health outcomes of all family members. Dr. Garza looks forward to helping her community in this capacity.

Roger Rodriguez

Roger Rodriguez started teaching at Storm Elementary School in 1971 after graduating from the University of North Texas with his BS. Roger then got his MA in Education Management from UTSA and moved into administration. During his 47 years of teaching health and physical education with SAISD, Roger aided in implementing various health and fitness programs to better the lives of the children he served.


Roger aided in creating 35 youth soccer teams with support from the San Antonio Thunder, as well as coordinated the building of a new natatorium with the City and then-Mayor Henry Cisneros. Those projects led to the development of new curriculums and grants to promote physical education and health in the SAISD district. His teaching excellence led him to be invited to assist with the development of new UIL and TEKS competencies.


Committed to health and wellness education, Roger created new curriculums for HIV/AIDS prevention, CPR, and AED training and started the SAISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). He also directed grant projects within the district to reduce teen pregnancy and was awarded over $2.5 million in grants by the US Department of Education.        


Retiring in 2018 from the role of Senior Coordinator for Health/PE with SAISD has not slowed Roger down. He is still committed to children’s health and physical education through working with the SAHRC team and serving on the board.

Leonard Rodriguez

From an award-winning publisher to White House Advisor to small business owner, Leonard B. Rodriguez has excelled as an entrepreneur, government official, and community developer.  


Named as one of the country's "Most Influential Hispanics" by both Hispanic Business and Poder Magazine, Rodriguez is best known for his work as a regional advisor to the President of the United States.  


Rodriguez is also known in publishing circles for his 1999 publication, "Celebrating Outstanding Hispanics – 500 Years of Latino Pride," a colossal calendar-book profiling the accomplishments of more than 300 Latinos in the U.S.  His publication won the Gold Award for Most Educational and Bronze Award for Most Original Calendar from the Calendar Marketing Association in 1999.  Rodriguez credits his publishing venture for helping launch him into national politics. 


While working for the President of the United States, Rodriguez served as the president's liaison to members of the Cabinet, Congress, governors, state and local officials in the Southwest, Midwest, and U.S. Territories, where he handled policy and outreach.  Among his many responsibilities, Rodriguez was responsible for coordinating the President's agenda through all Federal agencies into more than 30 states, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands.


Rodriguez received his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.  He is a tenth-generation Texan with roots in San Antonio's Westside.  He is married to his high school sweetheart and has two children, and currently serves as the Director of Development for the Center for Health Care Services.

Adam Avila

Adam Avila is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Radius Psychotherapy, PLLC. The practice focuses on providing mental health services to adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Adam’s experience comes from more than 20 years of working with at-risk populations through residential treatment facilities, Bexar County Juvenile Probation, and private practice.


Adam is a graduate of Brackenridge High School. He completed a Bachelor’s program at Texas State University studying Psychology and Fine Art. Adam earned a Master’s degree, in Counseling-Marriage and Family Therapy, from Our Lady of the Lake University. While in college he played football and participated on the Triathlon team. With athletics playing a vital role in Adam’s development of character and community, he continues to stay active and enjoys walks, runs, and bike rides throughout the city.


Adam is certified in Low and High Elements using experiential/adventure-based techniques for team building and leadership development. He also volunteers as a Ropes Course Facilitator for Vision Works Camp Discovery. Adam’s goal is to continue providing services in the inner-city where he was born, raised and continues to live with his family. Through Radius Psychotherapy Adam hopes to educate individuals about the consideration of mental health as a pillar of overall health.

Zasha Romero, PhD

Dr. Zasha Romero is CO-PI for the South Texas Early Prevention Study “STEPS” and an Associate professor for the Health & Human Performance department at the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley UTRGV. His area of expertise is promoting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. He has led by example in the classroom as a university instructor for over 18 years and outside, as a personal and group fitness instructor for more than eleven years. 


An education in Sports Management has helped him reach out to area Physical Educators to train, teach and model new methods to instruct students on health and physical education.  As an avid marathon runner, ironman and ultra-marathoner, he leads by example. He inculcates physical educators and coaches to live healthy lifestyles so students can see, not only hear of the benefits of living that way. 


Dr. Romero strives to improve and sustain a positive health outcome in children, specifically preventing childhood obesity. As a kinesiologist, his expertise lies in developing novel fitness curriculum to enhance physical activity through play rather than calisthenics. He has worked with different age groups, and the experience has given him a vast understanding in promoting physical activity and healthy living. 

Dr. Roberto Treviño

Roberto P. Treviño, a physician, trained in Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at Chicago Medical School. He founded the South Alamo Medical Group in 1986 for the practice of primary care medicine aimed at providing health care to poor and underserved neighborhoods of San Antonio, Texas. Dissatisfied with health outcomes in the medical model, he founded the non-profit, Social and Health Research Center, Inc. (SAHRC) in 1995 to prevent and control chronic disease.  

The goals of SAHRC are to detect and reduce obesity and its associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The objective is to develop and implement lifestyle health programs to prevent and manage obesity and associated chronic diseases; and design evaluation tools to assess program effectiveness.

Dr. Treviño is the principal investigator of the three largest trials funded by the National Institutes of Health to prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in high-risk populations. Large studies published in scientific journals have shown that the health programs operated by SAHRC have decreased blood glucose and insulin levels; decreased obesity rates and dietary fat intake; and increased dietary fiber intake and fitness levels in children. The Bienestar Neema Coordinated School Health Program has been adopted as an official state school health curriculum by the Texas Education Agency; and has been recognized as research-tested by the National Cancer Institute, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, United States Department of Agriculture, and Center for Disease Prevention and Control. 




Uploaded on Dec 27, 2010

Speaker: Robert Treviño, M.D.

Title of talk:


Preventing Diabetes: Targeting High-Risk Children Living in Poverty



Scroll through to watch video and read articles in which SAHRC Founder & Executive Director, Dr. Roberto P. Treviño, has been featured. 

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