Ramona Beltran

Ramona Beltran

Associate Professor; Interim Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development

  • Faculty

What I do

I listen to stories. Diseases are stories etched into our lands and bodies. Even if they are our inherited legacies, they can be rewritten.


community organizing and community development, culturally responsive practice, environment, gender, health and wellness, indigenous and native peoples, latina/latino populations, racial justice, research methods, social justice

Professional Biography

Associate professor. Dancer. Academic Director. Producer. Mother. An award-winning public intellectual with global initiatives in historical trauma and healing and storytelling methodologies that have been cited by researchers and practitioners alike.

In her 20 years of professional experience, spanning the United States to New Zealand, she has worked alongside institutions and Indigenous and Latinx communities, spotlighting solutions that are present in our creative and cultural-driven modalities. Her contributions have been invited by distinguished institutions including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Office of the Vice President, and Harvard University as well as prominent cultural institutions including the Denver Art Museum, History Colorado, and the Latino Cultural Arts Center. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Libraries of Medicine and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Dr. Beltran is a fiercely loving mother of three and is a multiracial Chicana of Indigenous Mexican descent. She acknowledges that all the earth has an Indigenous name, and a community meant to steward it.


  • Ph.D., University of Washington, School of Social Work, 2010
  • MSW, Advanced Clinical Practice, Portland State University School of Social Work, 2005
  • BA, Major: Sociology; Minor: Spanish, Willamette University, 1998


Our research is exploring the role of storytelling in disrupting the impacts of historical trauma on outcomes in Indigenous communities.

Key Projects

  • AOD and HIV Needs Assessment in Urban Mexican American Indians


Beltran, R. (2019). The source of the wound. Denver, CO.


Beltran, R. (2019). Our stories are our medicine: Centering culture, resistance, healing and art in research with Indigenous communities. Second annual symposium on community action and research. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan School of Social Work.


  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Academic Year 2016-2017, University of Denver, Office of the Provost
  • Race, Inequality and Social Change Faculty Excellence Award, Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality
  • Excellence in Doctoral Mentorship, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
  • Excellence in Mentoring MSW Students, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
  • CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education Mentor Recognition Program, CSWE Council on Role and Status of Women in Social Work