Ramona Beltran

Ramona Beltran

Associate Professor

Acting Associate Dean for Research

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

Assistant Professor Ramona Beltrán, MSW, PhD, is a mixed race Xicana of Yaqui and Mexica descent and dancer/activist/scholar. Her scholarship is committed to interrupting legacies of historical trauma that affect Indigenous communities. She focuses on disrupting the problem-focused approach to understanding health and well-being that is profuse in mainstream research. Beltrán does this by centering culture, resilience, resistance, healing and arts-based and storytelling methods in collaborative knowledge production with and for Indigenous communities.


  • 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 Indige. 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