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

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 and 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 is currently getting her Masters Degree in Public Health from George Washington University. She is excited to start 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.

executive director

Bonnie Berkley

deputy director

Ivan Beltrani

Program Coordinator


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




Uploaded on Dec 27, 2010

Speaker: Robert Treviño, M.D.

Title of talk:


Preventing Diabetes: Targeting High-Risk Children Living in Poverty


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