Julio Bellber is the founding president and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF). He retired from the Foundation in 2013, having dedicated his career to the health center movement. Previously, Mr. Bellber served as the president and chief executive officer of the Ryan Community Health Network (RCHN), a not-for-profit community-based health care network incorporating several community health centers, a managed care plan, and a management services organization. Mr. Bellber also served as president and CEO of CenterCare, Inc., a community health center owned and governed, New York state licensed, not-for-profit managed care plan providing health coverage to more than 80,000 low-income individuals.
Mr. Bellber began working in the community health care field at the William F. Ryan Community Health Center (Ryan) in 1968, rising to executive director in 1979, a position he held through 1995. Under Mr. Bellber’s leadership, the Ryan Center – a federally-funded, multi-site community health center – became nationally known as a model of accessible, culturally competent, comprehensive primary care. During Mr. Bellber’s tenure, Ryan became the first community health center in the country to negotiate with a private lending institution to open a state-of-the-art facility to serve its patients. CenterCare health plan, an early entry into New York’s Medicaid Managed Care program for the underserved, was established by Ryan and other community health centers in 1988. RCHN was responsible for the planning, development and financing of the Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center. The new center, opened in 2001, expanded the Ryan model of care to the mid-west side of Manhattan. By 2004, the Ryan Network – RCHN, the Ryan Centers, and CenterCare – had become the largest community health center network in New York state. In September 2005, RCHN finalized a change of control transaction whereby ownership of CenterCare was transferred to Fidelis Care New York. At the same time, the Ryan Centers became self-governing and the RCHN Community Health Foundation was formed, as the only not-for-profit health care foundation in the country dedicated to community health centers, in New York state and nationally.
Mr. Bellber is a past president of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), as well as of the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS). Among several other distinguished appointments, Mr. Bellber served most recently on the boards of directors of the Betances Health Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), En Foco, and the Jeffrey T. Latman Foundation. Mr. Bellber has also served on the board of directors of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (’91-’94), as treasurer of the Metropolitan Hospital Community Advisory Board (’81-’85), and as a director of the NYC Primary Care Development Corporation (’93-’97). Mr. Bellber is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and has received numerous awards recognizing his contributions to the community health field, including NACHC’s John Gilbert Award for his decades-long commitment to serving the medically indigent, The City Council of New York Hispanic Heritage Award for outstanding service to the community, and the Administrator’s Achievement Award of the U.S. Public Health Service, Region II and Health Care Finance Administration in special recognition of his commitment to serving individuals with HIV infection and AIDS.