Member of the Month: Belinda Gonzalez, MD
Solo Corpus Christi family physician serves patients and community
By Kate Alfano
Belinda Gonzalez, MD, is a board-certified family physician in Corpus Christi who has been in private practice there for 24 years. Originally part of a large multi-specialty group, she has been in solo practice for 14 years. Her nominator for Member of the Month spoke of her strength and spirit of service. She is dedicated to her patients and regularly volunteers in her church hospitality department and she suffered a great personal loss during residency with the death of her mother.
Gonzalez was awarded a Bachelor of Science from Pan American University in Edinburg where she graduated magna cum laude, obtained her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and completed her residency at Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. During residency she received an award for outstanding senior resident and was featured as the cover story of the University of Texas alumni magazine, “The Making of a UT Doctor.” In addition to being an AAFP and TAFP member, she is a member of the Nueces County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, and a lifetime member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Who inspired you to pursue family medicine?
My mother was always sick, in and out of the hospital, when I was growing up. It was being around the hospitals and physicians that exposed me to the medical field. And when the doctors were trying to explain my mom’s illness, lupus, to me, I decided then that I wanted and needed to know more so I could understand what the physicians were telling me. I also noticed that her family physician was the most caring and willing to explain her condition and I wanted to be that type of physician too.
What is the best part of family medicine?
The best part of family medicine is seeing the whole family, “from birth to death.” I enjoy growing older with my patients and getting to know them and their families. My patients also seem to trust me more than their specialists as I have seen them for years and know almost everything about them, whether it’s medical or personal. It is truly humbling to care for these patients and treat their new, acute, and chronic conditions as they literally trust me with their lives.
What is the hardest part of private practice?
The hardest part of private practice is dealing with insurance companies and managed care. Doing prior authorizations for medications, studies, and procedures are necessary but the insurance companies don’t deem them as such. Running a practice is very expensive and the only thing that does not go up are my reimbursements. I keep practicing because I know my patients need me and this is what I was born to do. I love what I do but it can be a grind.
How has your practice changed or adapted to serve patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic really dealt a financial blow to my practice as I had to take a Paycheck Protection Program loan to keep my practice afloat as my patient volume and revenue decreased significantly. I still see patients in the office but have also been doing telemedicine to be able to care for my patients who are not able or willing to come to the office for various reasons.
What are your passions or hobbies outside of medicine?
Outside of medicine I am an exercise enthusiast (HIIT, cycling) and an avid reader (I read one book a week). I enjoy fishing, volunteering, and watching professional sports (NBA, NFL, tennis, and women’s college basketball).
What advice would you give to colleagues or future family physicians?
My advice to future family physicians (students and residents) is to go be a family physician! It’s not as lucrative as other specialties, but I feel it’s the most rewarding. We need you! We are a dying breed and our country needs more family docs who are willing to take care of the entire patient.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.