About the Social and Health Research Center


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 nonprofit 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 classes, 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 the 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 the 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 smartphones, cameras, and software to analyze the dietary intake of children in schools and patients in primary care clinics.

The 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

The Social and Health Research Center

Roberto P. Treviño, M.D. Executive Director


Karla E. Cortez, MPH Deputy Director

The Social and Health Research Center

Maria Chapa, M.S.Ed. PE/Health Coordinator

The Social and Health Research Center

DAVID SALDAÑA, M.Ed. Director of Business Development


Gabriel Canez IT Manager

Meet The Board of Directors

The Social and Health Research Center


The Social and Health Research Center

Dr. Nora Garza Secretary

The Social and Health Research Center

Adam Avila, MS, LPC

The Social and Health Research Center

Leonard Rodriguez

The Social and Health Research Center

Roger Rodriguez, MA

Get To Know Dr. Treviño

Scroll through to watch the video and read articles in which SAHRC founder and 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


Children of the Revolution:

The Story of Dr. Roberto Trevino

Aired 09/30/2010

Dr. Robert Trevino lost a great grandfather and a grandfather to the Mexican Revolution. His father was in   his mother’s womb when his father, Dr. Treviño’s grandfather, was killed in the revolution. The family struggled and eventually prospered. Trevino became a doctor and made a discovery that changed the way the medical profession treats cardiac arrest and ultimately has saved countless lives.

The Social and Health Research Center

'Forgotten Children' Exposes Healthcare Injustices

by Jason P. Olivarri   Published August 26, 2009

Robert Treviño, a prominent physician and researcher, has fought an uphill battle against the healthcare industry's ugly side. He tries to expose it in his new book, "Forgotten Children: A True Story of How Politicians Endanger Children."

Treviño, 58, is president of the South Alamo Medical Group, which operates five clinics in some of San Antonio's poorest communities.

Treviño said he felt compelled to write "Forgotten Children" to expose the greed, corruption, and favoritism he witnessed at the state and federal levels of the healthcare industry.

The Social and Health Research Center
The Social and Health Research Center


Fight Against Childhood Obesity Begins at Home
by Roberto P. Trevino   Updated March 1, 2014

SAN ANTONIO — While I am sitting at restaurants or standing at grocery store lines, I observe the health behaviors of adult caretakers and children with them.

Two weekends ago, my wife and I were at a restaurant sitting next to a heavyset couple with two heavyset children. The children may have been between the ages of 3 and 6.

The woman was conversing with the man and, at the same time, pouring sugar into one of the children's tea. The conversation and the downpour of sugar went on and on and on until the brown tea turned white and my face turned red.

The Social and Health Research Center

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