Vanessa Beltran
Mental Health Policy Fellow, Girls Empowerment Network
Vanessa Beltran is the Mental Health Policy Fellow at Girls Empowerment Network and an advocate for diversifying the field of dietetics, her first love. She brings together extensive experience in community health as a direct service provider and a systems-level perspective on improving population health through her training in public health. Formerly a dietitian at CommUnity Care in Austin, working primarily in under-resourced communities, Vanessa has firsthand knowledge of how the social determinants of health impact people's lives and wellbeing. Witnessing stark health disparities and the multitude of disadvantages her patients faced in seeking their optimal health, Vanessa decided to pursue a graduate degree in public health to affect change in the upstream determinants that structure opportunities for marginalized communities. At the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Vanessa has received training in Social and Behavioral Sciences to better understand how to effectively analyze and communicate the impact of policy on health outcomes. Training and experience in the fields of Public Health Leadership and Health Communication has equipped Vanessa with essential advocacy skills to promote policies that can improve girls' mental health. Upon finishing her degree in December, Vanessa is looking forward to continuing her work at Girls Empowerment Network and mobilizing the dietetics community in Austin around the need for inclusion, and equitable representation of, underrepresented minorities in dietetics. In her free time, Vanessa likes to cook for friends and family, read non-fiction, watch films, and play with her two small dogs.