Enjoying Every Stage of Life

During the most enjoyable times of our life–infancy and childhood–our parent trust our care to pediatricians, but what happens when we grow older? Who are we supposed to trust during our elderly life? Dr. J. Roberto Duran III, of Southwest Center on Aging, shares some of his life experiences and his dedication to Geriatrics and healthy aging.

Dr. Duran was born in Dayton, Ohio, where his father was completing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology. However, at a very young age, his parents moved the family to the City of Chihuahua, Mexico where he was raised. Today, Dr. Duran resides in Las Cruces with his wife Luly and his two beautiful daughters, Melissa and Natalia. The family is also anxiously awaiting the birth of the third child, a baby boy.

Growing up as an ‘80s child, Dr. Duran has held on to one of his childhood passions—his enthusiasm for Star Wars. He recalls that his first encounter with the dark side of the force and the world of Darth Vader was accidental. On their way home from vacation, his parents stopped at a gift shop and a large Darth Vader action figure carrying case drew their attention. Not knowing what it was, they began to ask questions about the movie. This piqued their interest as well as Dr. Duran’s. He developed a passion for collecting Star Wars memorabilia that continues to this day.

Dr. Duran attended a catholic school throughout his elementary and high school education. He always yearned to become a doctor like his father. Dr. Duran, Sr. tried to discourage his son by warning him about the challenges of the healthcare system in Mexico. His father would have preferred for him to study economy; however, one day in economy class was enough to convince Dr. Duran that medicine was the path he was meant to follow. He started his professional studies at the University of Chihuahua. After graduating as a doctor, he fulfilled his residency in Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University in El Paso. Then, he went to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he majored in Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Medicine.

Dr. Duran had the desire to start his private practice in El Paso, but destiny brought him to Las Cruces and he opened Southwest Center on Aging in January, 2010. He cares for patients over 65 years of age and also works with different geriatric syndromes ranging from falls, prevention to dementia. As a health care professional, he strives to promote healthy aging and excellence in geriatric care. Dr. Duran explains that the best part of his work is the opportunity to meet people. “My patients have many stories and they enjoy sharing them.” He feels honored to learn about the story of each one of them has.

Besides his own practice, Dr. Duran is the medical director at the nursing homes Casa de Oro Care and Rehabilitation Center and Casa del Sol Senior Care Center. He is also the medical director of Ambercare Hospice and Matrix Home Health.

For many of us, serving people in their final stage of life can be extremely depressing and painful. However, for Dr. Duran it is an honor to be able to help his patients with end of life care and provide them a good quality of life while helping them understand death without agony. For him, the most difficult part of being a doctor is keeping in mind that he has a life outside his profession. He needs to remind himself constantly that he is also a husband and a father and creating a balance between his personal and professional activities is the most demanding part of his job.

By Bianca Villani

Winter 2011
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