G. Valerie Beckles-Neblett, M.D., manages medical costs and patient services as network medical director for Aetna Southwest. She also organizes and led medical missions to Haiti and Honduras, two of the poorest countries in the world. Along with the other doctors she recruits for her trips, Dr. Beckles treated thousands of people many who had never visited a doctor before.
A native of Trinidad, Dr. Beckles completed her undergraduate education and medical school in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies. After her internship in Nassau, Bahamas, she pursued postgraduate training in pediatrics at the London Hospital in England.
Before moving to Florida in 1992, Dr. Beckles-Neblett served on the clinical faculty of the pediatric residency program at the Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas, where she also ran her own private pediatrics practice.
Describing her recent trip to Honduras, Dr. Beckles-Neblett directed a thirteen-member medical team operating a clinic in Hogar De Ninos Nazareth Orphanage in Comayagua. While there, she explained, "We saw a total of 1,106 patients of all ages in the five-day clinic, and even with that volume, we were forced to turn away several hundred who waited daily to be seen. An additional 255 patients were examined and fitted with eyeglasses, a true wonder to witness."
In addition to this Honduras trip, Dr. Beckles-Neblett has organized and led two medical missions to Haiti and is currently planning a return trip to Honduras. Between missions, Dr. Beckles-Neblett raises funds and receives contributions of medicine and medical supplies from pharmaceutical companies in the United States.
Between medical missions, Dr. Beckles-Neblett returns to her desk where, for the last ten years, she has worked in managed care as a medical director for various Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).
Of her career in administrative medicine, Dr. Beckles-Neblett said, "While this has been a very rewarding endeavor, I have never lost my love for hands-on medical care, particularly for the less fortunate. Medical mission trips abroad, and the months of preparation involved in planning and leading those mission trips allow me to fulfill that passion for direct service and continues to give me the chance to "make a difference." For her humanitarian services, Dr. Beckles-Neblett was named the National Aetna Voice of Conscience Winner for 2002.