Chelo Belmonte, D.O.

Please tell us about yourself, your background, where you’re from.

I was born in the Philippines, and my family moved to Phoenix, AZ when I was in high school. I graduated high school in Arizona and went to Arizona State University. My degree was in Psychology. I moved here for medical school where I met my husband. We couples-matched and chose Beaver, Pennsylvania; it’s under a PCOM Residency – a dual-accredited unopposed FM program.  

We lived here for four years for medical school, so we decided to come back here in Las Vegas, and now we’re here.

 

What do you like to do for fun?

We love to travel as a family. Part of it is because we’re so busy when we’re here, so for us to get away from it all, we have to be out of here. So it’s really just family time and bonding when we’re not here. It’s fun. 

 

How did you choose Family Medicine?

I actually thought I wanted to do pediatrics. Going into medical school I always loved kids, so I thought I would do peds. But when I started doing rotations, doing a pediatrics rotation wasn’t what I expected it to be. I liked the variety of family medicine more, that when I was in training, we really took care of newborns to adults. Here [in clinic], it’s mostly adult medicine, but I have some patients who ask, “Can I take my 12-, 13-, 15 year old to you?” and I would say yes, because it’s provider preference. When I was doing rotations, that’s when I figured I liked Family Medicine. I liked Women’s Care, I enjoyed my OB rotations as a resident, and I liked Geriatrics. I guess I just liked the variety. You never get bored. It’s true though, with Family Medicine, you never get bored. There are some students that are not comfortable with knowing a little bit about everything, so that’s why they specialize. But for me, I’m comfortable in that. I know enough about atrial fibrillation, and I know enough about cervical cancer, I don’t have to focus on one, per se. 

You know, when I was in rotations, at that time when I kind of already knew that I wanted to do Family Medicine, and a lot of the specialists would discourage me in doing so, because everybody thinks bad of primary care, I don’t know why. It was kind of discouraging, but I never really second-guessed it, so I did Primary Care.

 

Tell me about the variety of patients that you see in practice now.

You have acute visits. Let’s see… today, you see some low back pain, cough, congestion. But then you have patients that are here for follow up for their chronic medical issues. That’s the one thing I like about primary care, Family Medicine, is that you get to know the patients. You see them 2-3 times a year, some even more than what you want. Some are seeing you every 2 to 3 months, so you build a relationship with them. And I think that’s still important in practicing medicine, because they’ll trust you more, and they’ll listen to you more when you have a relationship with them. 

  

What are your thoughts about the future of Family Medicine?

I think there’s a bright future for Family Medicine. There are some physicians who think that Family Medicine is going to be obsolete down the road. But I don’t believe that, because I still think Family Medicine is the backbone of medicine. Some patients say, “I have chest pain,” and they go see a cardiologist. But in reality, there are so many causes of chest pain. It could be heartburn. If there’s no primary care doctor to figure out what’s wrong with you, you just waste more dollars going to a cardiologist right away when you didn’t need to. We could take care of that; the patient might have even gone to the wrong specialty. So I think Primary care is very important in how we practice medicine. So far all the changes have been positive for Family Medicine. Even compensation for Family Medicine has gone up. I think Family Medicine is not going away. If students really want primary care, or the variety, don’t be discouraged of other physicians telling you, “Are you sure you don’t want to do this [specialty]? You’ll make more money.” But, you gotta do what you enjoy. I guess that’s the bottom line, because you’re going to have to do this for life, so you want to do what you really love.

Specialty

Family Medicine

Clinic Location

Southwest Medical Associates, 270 W. Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson, NV

Medical School

Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine, Henderson, NV, 2009

Residency

Heritage Valley Health System, Beaver, PA, 2012

 

Student Interviewer: Jennifer Estanilla, M.Ed., OMS II