Velnet 21 Medical health Clinic
Dr. David Velasquez’s journey from a teenager in war-torn El Salvador to an experienced and well-rounded Ohio physician has not been an easy one. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles like extreme poverty, exploited, discriminated by the government in El Salvador and language barriers when he came to this country; he has built a private medical practice that has helped nearly 3000 patients in the Columbus area since 2014.
Originally from El Salvador, a then 14-year-old Velasquez and his brother fled the country to escape civil war. A failed attempt to enter the U.S. forced them to settle in Mexico where he finished high school and received his medical degree. Later, he and his family planted roots in Pharr, TX.
As a budding physician, Velasquez’s ultimate goal was to practice in the United States. He knew, though, that he couldn’t reach that goal without drastically improving his English and earning his medical license. Realizing that his English would never get better while living in his Spanish-speaking South Texas community, Velasquez took a huge leap of faith and joined a friend from medical school in Nebraska.
Optimistic about the future, he worked odd jobs to support himself and to save money for his next educational opportunity. But after two years Velasquez was facing divorce, working 14-hour days, flat broke and discouraged. “I asked God what is my mission in life
I want an answer now. Today.” A few days later that prayer was answered unexpectedly by Dr. Hugh Leigh – a doctor who would become his mentor, teacher and father-figure.
With Dr. Leigh’s guidance and generous financial support, Velasquez earned his license and travelled to Saint Louis Missouri, to start his internship and later finish his residency in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, he has practiced in multiple Ohio cities. His diverse medical background includes Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Alternative Medicine, Emergency and Urgent Care.
Today Velasquez is the sole practitioner at the Velnet 21 Medical Clinic in Coshocton, where people travel as far as more than 90 miles for treatment. He is completely dedicated to his patients ? often offering late night, weekend and home visits to ensure that they have quality care. He also provides the same emotional support that he needed decades ago by hosting friday night group sessions for those who need spanish-speaking psychological and spiritual support. “Some are depressed. They work two or three jobs and their families are still in other countries. They just need someone to listen and show them that there’s hope. Not just always prescription drugs.”
His compassion and willingness to serve others also lead him to open a 24-hour clinic in one of the poorest villages in El Salvador. Patients there receive preventive medicine, free visits and low-cost laboratory testing. Currently, Velasquez is leading an effort to develop the Velnet 21 Latino Community Center. The new center will partner with local small businesses to provide access to Psychological and Counseling legal services, health care and media in the Hispanic community. “I'm giving back what God has given me. I belong to the Hispanic people. They need me.”
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